A to Z Challenge: Letter J for Joy

Deep, esoteric reading material leaves me feeling dumb and vocabulary challenged as a rule, but there is something that I took away from a recent read that resonates with me. It was about joy. (And I may have gotten it wrong, but forgive me C. S. Lewis.)

He uses lots of big words…

I agree with C.S. Lewis that real joy has a sadness, and a longing behind it that makes it what it is. I have found that to be true about caretaking. Every time I’m doing something for someone, I’m wishing they were well and able to do it for themselves. I’m thinking about what I have that they don’t, what I can do that they can’t, and I’m grateful that I can help them. There is joy in adding to their life something they cannot have on their own.

There is also the joy of coming together, collaborating and accomplishing a task, that is different from anything I can do on my own. I believe we are meant to be in community with others and find our greatest satisfaction in sharing our skills, our words, thoughts, and our time – and that is often what caretaking is about. Almost always, the people I am caring for have something that they give back and share with me. There is joy in that.

I am sad when caretaking seems like a one way street with no feedback, no acknowledgment, no life giving return. But even then, I feel that I am honoring God by caring for a life that he values until he says that care is no longer needed. Caretaking teaches me things about myself that I couldn’t learn any other way. Persistence, integrity, compassion, acceptance, courage are all attributes that get challenged and honed… courses in Caretaking University.

That’s it. JOY. Caretaking is hard work, at times frustrating, exhausting, discouraging and other “bad things”, but joy is there to be found. I have named it and realize that it makes me able to continue taking care of others.

These Thoughts Make Me Happy

“Just after the climax of the trilogy The Lord of the Rings , Sam Gamgee discovers that his friend Gandalf was not dead (as he thought) but alive.  He cries, “I thought you were dead! But then, I thought I was dead myself! Is everything sad going to come untrue?”  The answer of Christianity to that question is – yes. Everything sad is going to come untrue and it will somehow be greater for having once been broken and lost.”

and…

“The Biblical view of things is resurrection – not a future that is just a consolation for the life we never had but a restoration of the life you always wanted.  This means that every horrible thing that ever happened will not only be undone and repaired but will in some way make the eventual glory and joy even greater.”  Both quotes above from Tim Keller in Reasons for God

and…

“They say of some temporal suffering, “No future bliss can make up for it,” not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory.”  C. S. Lewis

Other than blotting out our memories, this is the only way I can think of, that God could promise to wipe away all tears. That’s what restoration means.