What To Do When There Is No Joy

As we go through life the things that bring joy change. When we’re young, we seek intense experiences of joy: big birthday gifts, playing with friends for hours, falling in love at first sight, or sometimes thrill seeking with its adrenaline rush. Usually, after age 25 or so, joy starts to come in the simple, ordinary things. Amazing tacos al pastor. Berries you grew yourself. Perfectly warm socks. Someone folding the laundry without being asked. Someone remembering you after all these years and unexpectedly giving you a call. Paying attention to what brings joy in your life can be a helpful self-assessment tool: when was the last time you had a deep belly laugh? One of my colleagues, the Rev. Joanne Fontaine Crawford, says it is her spiritual practice to laugh really hard at least once a day! And if it’s difficult to find joy that’s ok too. We all can go through periods, even years, where joy is hard to find. Where all emotions seem far off and distant, reserved for others but not yourself. Joyless time should be respected, and treated as sacred because it usually occurs during a time of deep transformation – when we realize that the world is not what it should be, when clinical depression seems to never abate, when we are grieving a terrible loss. A joyless time means we know that we will never be the same. This month’s worship theme is joy, so I invite you to think deeply about it: how has it changed over the years, if you can commit to laughing deeply every day, and the times you have been joyless too. Bring all these shades of joy to services with you in September!
Rev. Shawna Foster