Brené Brown, a research scientist, defers to a Methodist pastor’s explanation of joy.
Anne Robertson uses the Greek words for happiness and joy to point out important differences. The Greek word for happiness is Makarios, which was used to describe the freedom of the rich from the normal cares and worries, or to describe a person who received some form of good fortune, such as money or health.
While the Greek word for joy is chario, which was described by the ancient Greeks as the ‘culmination of being’ and the ‘good mood of the soul’.
Robertson writes, “Chiros isn’t a beginner’s virtue; it comes as the culmination. [Ancient Greeks] say it’s opposite is not sadness but fear.”
And Brené herself goes on to describe joy as christmas twinkle lights. “Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in moments – often ordinary moments.
“I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, inspiration, and faith.”
Through her research, she has concluded that what gets in the way of gratitude and joy is scarcity and fear of the dark.
The Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön says, “Everything is material for the seed of happiness, if you look into it with inquisitiveness and curiosity.
“The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment. There always is the potential to create an environment of blame – or one that is conducive to loving-kindness.”
For me, joy is opening my heart to the moments of wonder present everywhere in life.
And joy is fleeting, so I give full credit to the song, the smile, the dance, the way the light casts golden beauty on the street in the evening, and feel grateful that a moment of joy was found and received.
I give the same weight to the moments of joy as I do to the moments of grief, because given a chance, they are equally as affecting.
What is joy to you?