"I am convinced that we can choose joy. Every moment we can choose to respond to an event or a person with joy instead of sadness...To choose joy does not mean to choose happy feelings or an artificial atmosphere of hilarity. But it does mean the determination to let whatever takes place bring us one step closer to the God of life."
Henri Nouwen, "The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey"
I have been blessed to read enough of Henri Nouwen to know his life was not a bed of roses, so his saying that we can CHOOSE joy makes me sit up and take notice. But what about when things seem really difficult? (I rhetorically ask Henri Nouwen, who has been in heaven since 1996). I think the main thing is the difference between joy and happiness and Fr. Nouwen clearly knows the difference. He was a man of deep thoughts and deeper feelings, so he knows joy when he talks about it, but also the frivolity of surface happiness, too. Joy is so much more God-ish, really. Joy is the sensation that all will be well, as Julian of Norwich told us. We go through ups and downs of human life and we can feel like we're on a roller coaster at times. But joy is deeper, more lasting, more penetrating all we do and are. Joy is the God-presence in our experience, no matter if it is happy or sad. The presence of God in it can give us a calm and peace, even if the circumstances don't seem calm or peaceful. That is worth a pondering this last Tuesday of winter! Love, heidi