Monday Devotional

November 10, 2019

Dear Friend,

In David Brooks’ book, “The Second Mountain,” he draws a distinction between happiness and joy. Happiness is a victory for the self. It is something good that happens to you. You get a promotion. You encounter green lights on the way to work. Your sporting team wins. These are the things that bring happiness.

Joy, however, is different. Joy moves us beyond ourselves. It is experienced when a parent and child look lovingly into one another’s eyes. Joy is hiking to a secluded spot and being taken aback with the beauty of nature. Joy is the feeling of holding hands with your beloved. Using this distinction, Brooks argues that happiness is fleeting. It comes and goes. One moment we are celebrating a Super Bowl victory and the next day we are back to work. Joy, however, is an enduring state of life. We make a conscious decision to live joyfully, even in difficult times. People like the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu are examples of such living. They exude joyfulness. How does one cultivate that joyful perspective? One simple suggestion is to pay attention to the daily joys. Spend some time each day reflecting upon the joyful moments you experienced. Write them down, reflect upon them. You might even consider keeping a journal to write the joyful moments in each day. Cherish these moments like treasures. When we focus upon the goodness in the world, we begin to recognize it more easily and that joyfulness infuses our lives.  Peace,

Howard