Thursday, April 10, 2014

A to Z: J for Joy

Jump for joy! That feeling of elation is a high we seek throughout our lives. Some of us are thrill seekers, and there is evidence that we need that rush of chemical elation in the brain caused by peak experiences. The founding fathers laid out our right to it in the Constitution; life liberty and the pursuit of happiness are an American right, and by extension for some a universal right, but how do we find it? Many pursue fruitlessly throughout their lives and end up miserable, while others follow a quieter path differing gratification and still attain a state of contentment that we can recognize as.
joy by its settled and confident demeanor.

In Savior, Ricky decides not to play football because it's not fun for him any more. The stress involved in a pursuit that we follow for some reason other than the internal imperative to seek joy will eventually prove unsustainable, and there will be a break. This rupture can cause strife in any group that has set itself a common goal. Many families see success for their children as a reflection of the worth of the group, or tribe, if you will, and this group concept comes up hard against the individuation needs of the children to seek out their own paths. Al and Ricky, a father and son, struggle together to get past that moment of conflict when the individual's needs bumps against the parent's expectations.

As food for thought I'm sharing here the differences between happiness, and joy. This comparison is from A parent's obligation is to set a child on the path of joy, and that is never an easy task. Some of the deepest joy comes from struggles that may last a lifetime.



MeaningHappiness is an emotion in which one experiences feelings ranging from contentment and satisfaction to bliss and intense pleasure.Joy is a stronger, less common feeling than happiness. Witnessing or achieving selflessness to the point of personal sacrifice frequently triggers this emotion. Being connected to God or to others in a great cause and synergistic result.
Causesearthly experiences, material objectsSpiritual experiences, caring for others, gratitude, thankfulness
Emotionoutward expression of elationinward peace and contentment
Time frametemporary, based on outward circumstanceslasting, based on inward circumstances
ExampleIn the midst of life's ups and downs happiness is still present.Serving others, sometimes through sacrifice with no possible personal gain. Witnessing justice for the less fortunate. Experiencing God's mercy and grace and feeling His love. All can result in joy.
AnalogyHappiness is a state. Think of it as a 100 story building and each level corresponds to a happiness value. And that happiness will persist for quite a long timeJoy is that sudden burst of happiness. Joy is like the elevator in that building that takes you up to higher levels of happiness only for a small amount of time and back.
LifeHappiness is a byproduct of a moral lifestyle.Joy can be experienced from any good activity, food or company.

SAVIOR will be published April 18th on the Amazon Kindle platform by Harvard Square Editions. Visit the SAVIOR page on the HSE website, and then check back here throughout the A to Z challenge month to learn more about SAVIOR and publication launch details.
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