What is joy? More specifically, how do we in the post-Christian world define joy for ourselves and others as Christ spoke of in the Gospels? Is it an ephemeral giddiness, as we would feel after a hearty laugh, the intimate feeling of an embrace, the flush of excitement after a satisfying victory in a contest? In other words is it a transitory emotional /physical reaction to an external event, or perhaps is it indeed something more?
This is an enigma for those that lack firm grounding in Church Teaching and Philosophy (someone like me) who most of the time accepts the teachings of Our Lord faithfully, yet when all alone, away from others, when it is just Him and I it seems there is a plaintive refrain emerging from my soul; Lord, what is it You are actually saying? Yes, “my heart is restless until it rests in Thee”; but it merely fathoms not grasps, all there is.
There are times when I FEEL joy; but do I have it only when I feel it? – Or is it always there, lurking below the surface like a spiritual Moby Dick just before he smashes up the Pequod. In other words, is this joy Christ speaks of more of a character trait, such as constancy or self-control, than an emotional flush against ones mental outlook in a particular situation? Or is this joy more similar to hope, which to my mind is a rare combination of spiritual resolve and physical satisfaction?
These things I ponder and have never found a way to resolve the question; it remains mysterious. All I KNOW is I have planted my guidon upon the mountain of Cavalry come what may: Here I make my stand; this is the hill I will die upon, amidst the van of Jesus Christ. If I do not feel an emotional high most of the time during this fight alongside Him, nevertheless I am quite sure that this is the place I was meant to be for all time; for emotional high is not after all the height we are to pursue, but the height of the Cross.