We are Meant to Live in Joy (in spite of everything)

“We are meant to live in joy, [but]
this does mean that life will be easy or painless.”  [1]

      What if we’re meant to live with joy…not just on occasion but as a means of perception?    What if experiencing joy isn’t a form of denial, a lack of caring or responsibility, or even foolishness…but the path to enlarge and even make holy the framework of lived experience?

Observed the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu, “You are able to accept anything that happens to you provided you accept the inevitable frustrations and hardships as part of the warp and woof of life.   Yet the question is not, ‘How do I escape this?   The question is, ‘How can I use [this crushing disappointment, this prolonged suffering, this devastating loss] as something positive?'” [2]

Which leads one to ask, “What if acceptance is the polar opposite of resignation and defeat?  What if acceptance is not caving into inevitability but is a quality of recognition that perceives reality is imploring us…even begging us, to continue on?    What if reality, far from being an adversary, teaches us the necessity of living in the moment…while experiencing the joy that comes in knowing that all of life and creation itself, is a gift?

Prayer: Divine Maker, In the wake of so much loneliness, suffering and despair, teach us to embrace the necessity of living each and every moment in joy.    Remind us that reality need not be oppositional to holiness…but can be a means of clarifying the work that you have asked us to do…however difficult and even arduous it may seem at the time.    We ask this in all the holy names of God.  Amen.

[1] from the Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, 2016 by His Holiness the Dali Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams

[2] Ibid.





Author: Jessica McArdle

These are dark and corrosive times. As a writer and ordained minister with the United Church of Christ, I use prayer, poetry, reflection, and scripture to re-align our embattled spirits with the uniqueness and urgency of our God-given identity and call.

2 thoughts on “We are Meant to Live in Joy (in spite of everything)”

  1. This is just wonderful! I am preaching “ahead” for international gratitude day a week from today this coming sunday and will happily borrow some of your insight.

    1. Maren, thankful that parts of this reflection can be used towards your preaching. Will be thinking of you at the pulpit this coming Sunday, knowing that the congregation will be encouraged by your presence and message. Blessings!

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