There’s a difference between joy and happiness. Yep. At least I think so.
At my seasonal age, in my situation-a retired widower, I find myself kind of making things up as I go. Like if I’m delivering Easter eggs to my grandchildren-er-any children for that matter, in the early morning, I probably should dress up like the Easter Bunny. Maybe a version of the Easter Bunny who might have served time in prison or did too much gin in his morning cereal. One that produces a video on security cameras where responding police would definitely draw down and prone out the man with the Calvin Klein underwear mask.
And if we knew it, that difference-the real difference between joy and happiness, we would want joy. We think they are the same, but I contend they’re not. We want to be happy-all the time. Fun times equal happiness-right?
YOU CAN BE HAPPY IN JOY
Let me propose Joy includes moments of happiness. Happiness like giddy laughter. Like laughing until you cry or accidently/on purpose fart. Then, you laugh some more. Or like a bowl of ice cream or some weird cake you would never order smothered in some fancy name of a sauce, but you know it’s just some Aunt Jemima maple syrup. But it was so good, you try to lick the dish. That is being happy. Seems the smarter of the two choices.
Joy, real joy, it’s different-a deep sense of well-being. Like that first morning when summer’s back is broken and you are able to put on that favorite old sweatshirt you keep on the back of your chair. It makes you feel, well, cozy. Like everything is just fine.
We try really hard to be cozy on our own. We dress it up, lotion it down, eat our contentment, smoke it, touch it, or simply buy the two-ply. Somehow, we believe that’s it. WE have found Joy.
But most of that falls apart when we are in a dumpster fire. We lose our joy, sometimes to the point of curling up in a ball. We can cease to function. But imagine a thought, a believe system where joy, isn’t necessarily always there to be felt, but always there when that fire is most intense. You’re able to be the Easter Bunny for your family delivering plastic eggs at oh-dark-thirty. And not just any old bunny. But one with sweat socks for ears. You are able to smile when all about you are running for the fire exit. You are able to engage others with a peace and calm those others you are serving wonder if you are back to smoking some hand-rolled fatties with your cereal.
Imagine that joy.
Only one place do you get such a gift. And it’s free-all you have to do is accept it.
Don’t get me wrong. I like to laugh and have fun. That contentment of fun when you are enjoying the time you are in. It can be joyful as well, like I said. In Hebrews 2 it says God is not ashamed of me. Hard to imagine when I wear socks for ears. But if you think about it, it was His idea. He likes it when I play. I don’t play enough. Not on this rock. I realize and I cannot remember when I laughed last-wait-it was this morning in talking to my oldest daughter and then yesterday in talking to my other daughter and son. They make me laugh-out-loud. But life is not full of laughter. But it can be full of joy. The idea I am found to be adored by the God of the Universe, to know He loved me so much He sacrificed his only son so we could be together, to know His son told his Father ‘send me’ when there was a need for my sins to be washed away on to someone else, that is so big I cannot imagine it.
So, try this today-think about, in the middle of the storm you are in-a death, a loss, a betrayal, a financial cave in, you are loved perfectly. You are completely known in all your past-present-AND future sins and still adored and never-ever are an embarrassment to the God who made you. Imagine He doesn’t want to change you and your sin-not today. He just wants to be with you, maybe go for a walk or a bike ride, or go sit in the back yard or park or somewhere and talk about anything you want.
Mark Williams spent the first twenty-one years of his career as a Special Agent for the Organized Crime Division of the State Attorney General’s Office. As part of his duties, he investigated organized crime, homicides, and fraud cases submitted by other agencies to that office. He has traveled across the United States as an instructor for law enforcement in various capacities. After he retired, he became a high school English teacher at an inner city school in central Phoenix where he is the fourth generation in his family to live in the valley.
His idea of the perfect ending to any day is curling up in his comfy bed with a good book and reading until his eyes cross.
Mark was married for almost thirty-eight years and has been widowed since 2018. He has three children, and ten grandchildren. He currently resides in Phoenix and attends Open Door Fellowship Church.
You can read more about the author here.