Henri Nouwen, Dutch philosopher and theologist, wrote in Here and Now, Joy is not the same as happiness. We can be unhappy about many things, but joy can still be there. Joy does not simply happen to us – it is a choice. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. Each day, whatever may have happened, is a day to be grateful for.
My reflection: Nouwen says that joy and unhappiness can coexist. I used to think that one excluded the other and sometimes, especially in moments of deep trauma like Jeff’s addiction, I was overwhelmed with such great unhappiness that I didn’t allow joy a space in my life. Nouwen goes on to say that joy is a choice that is ours to make, regardless of what is happening in our daily lives. Although we might be unhappy in the moment, it does not need to extinguish our joy.
Today’s Promise to consider: Bad things happen to good people. At times, I might feel deeply unhappy, but I refuse to allow it to eliminate my joy. Today, I choose to stay in gratitude. All I have is today and I choose not to waste it.