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  • Writer's pictureFloyd Thompkins

This Joy that I Have the World didn’t Give it to Me.The World Can’t Take It Away.

"Joy grounded in circumstances needs the light of acceptance and the oxygen of kindness. Such joy is vulnerable to the fickle elements of changing relationships with people and the changing financial and social climate around our lives. That joy is always waxing and waning with such frequency that itself can cause a weariness of inconsistent emotional tension. That is not an adequate joy for the struggle.


Rather the goal is to have “this joy”, a joy only can be defined by itself, independent of other factors, and a gift from a sense of gratitude and contentment. “This joy” is brimming with the resiliency of hope and the vibrancy of a passion for a mission whose success is defined by the integrity of the struggle. “This joy” is a supernatural phenomenon that is a gift from an ineffable and undefinable reality that makes us laugh when we want to cry. It makes us smile when we want to glare. “This joy”, makes us better human beings. It makes us stronger, and it makes us the thermostats for our atmosphere instead of simply thermometers of our circumstances."


“This joy “is what we seek. It is an absolute must of the foundation of those who will have to face the irrationality of evil and unrepentant arrogance of privilege to tell others how to live, where to live, who should be leaders, who to love, and what to believe about God. They define their success in controlling others and causing people who are not like them to cower to their will. Therefore, they are practiced at the art of discouragement and gaslighting others to inflate their importance and power.


In struggling with such well-practiced and intentional attacks of the spirit there will be an inevitable the waning and waxing of happiness. Discouragement is a part of the strategy deployed to distract you from your mission. Joyful people are energetic and creative. They forgive easily and find ways to focus on multiple tasks with a singular purpose. Everything is seen as a challenge not a chore.


Conversely, when on becomes discouraged, overwhelmed, or simply unenthusiastic about the task that must be performed one can and will become ineffective and, at the very least, unimaginative. The things which suck one’s joy are physical, relational, or professional.


The work of changing the world is a physically demanding task but it is not physical. Rather it is stressful. Stress intensifies every aspect one one’s movement. When funding is a challenge, scheduling is an overwhelming puzzle, relationships are a maze of competing obligations and equally important people. One is always on a highwire of being misjudged, failing to meet the obligations and fearful of losing the original focus of one’s activities. Indeed, everyone’s life is that way. But, in this case the stress is that your failure is not singular. Rather it affects others disproportionately


The very thing that that motivates bold actions, the knowledge that our life and choices can and do change the world, can become the source of one’s greatest stress – failure on behalf of others. Cynicism and suspicion are replacing the optimism and trust that inhabit the camaraderie and adventure of the work of social justice.


The effect of such stress and pressure has led to many people just giving up and walking away from attempting to change things. The joy of the struggle is drained out of the tasks. In short, we fall into the malaise which William Wordsworth admonition “The World is too much with us”

The fascination and preoccupation the world as one is trying to save the world is a joy sucking phenomenon. That is the joy, only achievements and accomplishments, is not the “This joy” that is needed for the world. Because “That joy” born of the mob, the moment, and moods of humanity. But “this joy” is born of the ancient of days, the residue of the sound of creation from the voice of God and the continuing presence of the mystery that cannot be resolved in all few days of a life but rather will find its fruition in the realm of eternity.


Read Wordsworth figurative poem and think about its imagery.


The World Is Too Much With Us

The world is too much with us; late and soon,

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers; —

Little we see in Nature that is ours.

We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!

This Sea that bears her bosom to the moon.

The winds that will be howling at all hours,

And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers.

For this, for everything, we are out of tune.

It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be

A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn.

So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,

Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn.

Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea.

Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.


To really see is to develop a vision of powerful beauty and grace that is constantly surrounding us. Decide that the drain of the task before you will never empty out your reservoir of hope and resilience. Commit to this joy and lay hold on it with determination. Focus on the lessening anxiety – the assassin of joy. Intentionally noticing and celebrating beauty is a discipline. It is the purpose of this book aid in the development and practice of that discipline.


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