Joy

I read a lot of CS Lewis books. Most of the time I will read them a couple times just because they are thick and I struggle to wrap my stupid head around what he is trying to say. Lately I have been reading the book “Surprised By Joy” which is basically a kind of auto biography. In it he gives his own definition of the word “joy”… and I think its awesome. Here is what he says…

“… it is that of an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction. I call it Joy, which is here a technical term and must be distinguished both from Happiness and from Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again. Apart from that, and considered only in its quality, it might almost equally well be called a particular kind of unhappiness or grief. But then it is a kind we want. I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world. But then Joy is never in our power and pleasure often is.”

He goes on to describe experiences where he experienced real Joy and it was taken from him very quickly leaving him wanting it more than anything. These experiences would in some way give him a glimpse at the eternal and he wanted it. He saw for an instant that there was more out there, that there was something calling out to him that made him feel complete.

If I apply that definition of Joy to my life, then by golly, I am the most joyous person in the world. It seems that lately I have had an all encompassing desire for that fulfillment, that completion. I feel like my name is being screamed out, and I am unable to see who is doing the screaming. I know who it is, but I can’t see Him and its killing me. Those moments of Joy come to me like someone with a knife stabbing me over and over.

When I play with my kids and witness their complete innocence and the joy they have at just spending time with their father. Stab…
When my wife, my bride, reminds me of why I love her with her gentle spirit calming me after a day of stress, tension, and depression. Stab…
When I am able to get up in front of people to sing and play the songs I was given to sing, and do what I feel made to do. Stab…
When I am able to get together with my parents and sisters and all their husbands and kids, my cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles and whoever else, and just spend time laughing and enjoying each others company. Stab…
When I am hanging out with friends drinking beer and eating way too much food and just enjoying the conversation, cracking jokes, and feeling absolutely no stress. Stab…
When I step outside at night and just look up to star gaze and watch the night sky slowly rotate around us here on this tiny planet. The immensity of it all. Stab…

I think the one that hurts the most is when I come home from work and inevitably my little girl Grace, and sometimes my boys as well, will greet me at the door and scream “DADDY!!!” then give me a great big hug. It just makes me ache all over. I wish all the time we had together could be as happy as that moment. It only lasts a second, but it reflects eternity.

I guess I say all this because lately I just feel defeated. I have absolutely no self control. I am the most out of shape I have ever been, I am just as angry as ever, still struggle with depression, still just feel like a complete loser of a dad and husband in general. Joy is killing me. Those few moments I get that bring that Joy, that ache, are severe and they seem to accentuate my brokenness and need. But God please don’t let the moments of Joy stop. What would I do without those to remind me that there is Someone there calling my name? Those moments make me want to be a better person. They make me want to be the person that God designed me to be. To live the life that Jesus came and lived and prescribed for me to live.

Joy, in this sense, leads to my hope. Hope leads me to faith. Faith leads me to God. God leads me home to where all Joy is made complete.