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\”Joy\” – Word of the Week

Definition of the word of the week (JOY): Intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness

One of the literary greats, author C.S. Lewis, wrote about joy. As a youth, he read the works of romantic poets and engrossed himself in mythology so that he could learn about joy and the ability to make it last. When he was older, he wrote, “I doubt whether anyone who has tasted [joy] would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures of the world.” I find it interesting that C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud were famous writers. Lewis started out as a nonbeliever and converted but Freund started out as a believer but later lost his faith. There is no question which one lived the more joyous life.

There are key moments in our lives in which most people experience joy. For me, these moments included marrying above my station, the birth of my children and witnessing special moments in their lives such as their first steps. Although each of those moments were special and life-defining, they were rare. More frequent experiences of joy have occurred when I felt closest to God. I remember one Christmas Eve I was serving on one of America’s “Frontiers of Freedom” and I had just walked over a mile to the nearest telephone to call home and wish the family Merry Christmas. As I was walking back to our bivouac site, it was almost midnight and I passed a small church and something prompted me to stop in. I was one of only three people who attended that service, but it was a powerful experience that I will never forget.

Mother Teresa taught us that people often confuse transitory pleasure with joy. True joy is a choice that keeps us going in difficult times. In order to experience true joy, we must love unselfishly.
If you would like to experience joy in your life, you should use your talents to make our community a better place. As the American law professor, Bernard Meltzer, once wrote, “Use those talents you have. You will make it. You will give joy to the world. Take this tip from nature: The woods would be a very silent place if no birds sang except those who sang best.”

The following quotations are intended to assist in explaining and exemplifying the word of the week:

Patience in the present, faith in the future, and joy in the doing. George Perera

People are constantly clamoring for the joy of life. As for me, I find the joy of life in the hard and cruel battle of life – to learn something is a joy to me. J. August Strindberg, Poet

The great awareness comes slowly, piece by piece. The path of spiritual growth is a path of lifelong learning. The experience of spiritual power is basically a joyful one. M. Scott Peck, Author

Modern man is frantically trying to earn enough to buy things he’s too busy to enjoy. Frank Clark

Cultivate more joy by arranging your life so that more joy will be likely. Georgia Witkin

Pleasure usually takes the form of me and now; joy is us and always. Marvin Ashton

Before the reward there must be labor. You plant before you harvest. You sow in tears before you reap joy. Ralph Ransom

A man that hoards up riches and enjoys them not, is like an ass that carries gold and eats thistles. Sir Richard Burton, Explorer

If you have not often felt the joy of doing a kind act, you have neglected much, and most of all yourself. A. Neilen

The ideals that have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness, beauty and truth. Albert Einstein

Seek to cultivate a buoyant, joyous sense of the crowded kindnesses of God in your daily life. Alexander Maclaren, Preacher

Happy is the person who not only sings, but feels God’s eye is on the sparrow, and knows He watches over me. To be simply ensconced in God is true joy. Alfred Montapert, Author

Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment. Anthony Robbins, Author

True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new. Antoine De Saint-Exupery, Writer

One of the sanest, surest and most generous joys of life comes from being happy over the good fortune of others. Archibald Rutledge

Pleasure that must be enjoyed at the expense of another’s pain, can never be enjoyed by a worthy mind. Augustine Duganne

The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live. Ayn Rand, Author

Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible – it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could. Barbara De Angelis, Author

Whatever I am offered in devotion with a pure heart – a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water – I accept with joy. Bhagavad Gita, Sanskrit poem

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Bible, Psalms

Set me a task in which I can put something of my very self, and it is a task no longer. It is joy and art. Bliss Carman, Poet

We are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy when they speak or act. Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them. Buddha

I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for joy. C.S. Lewis, Author

Friendship is one of the sweetest joys of life. Charles Spurgeon

COL Patrick Beer, the Dean of Students and Commandant of Cadets at Georgia Military College, prepares this study guide each week as part of the institution’s character education program. He welcomes comments and suggestions from readers. He can be contacted by phone, 478-445-2710 or by email, pbeer@gmc.cc.ga.us