Summer Light by Lee Boynton
An Excerpt from One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You are:
Can we really expect joy all the time?
I know it well after a day smattered with rowdiness and worn ragged with bickering, that I may feel disappointed and the despair may flood high, but to give thanks is an action and rejoice is a verb and these are not mere pulsing emotions. While I may not always feel joy, God asks me to give thanks in all things, because He knows that the feeling of joy begins in the action of thanksgiving.
True saints know that the place where all the joy comes from is far deeper than that of feelings; joy comes from the place of the very presence of God. Joy is God and God is joy and joy doesn't negate all other emotions -- joy transcends all other emotions...
Joy is a flame that glimmers only in the palm of the open and humble hand. In an open and humble palm, released and surrendered to receive, light dances, flickers happy. The moment the hand is clenched tight, fingers all pointing toward self and rights and demands, joy is snuffed out. Anger is the lid that suffocates joy until she lies limp and lifeless. And for me, it's a cosmic-numbing notion that far eclipses the domestic moment. It speaks to the whole of my life and the vision brands me: The demanding of my own will is the singular force that smothers out joy -- nothing else.
"Pride slays thanksgiving... A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves." Dare I ask what I think I deserve? A life of material comfort? A life free of all trials, all hardship, all suffering? A life with no discomfort, no inconveniences? Are there times that a sense of entitlement is what inflates self, detonates anger, offends God, extinguishes joy?
What do I really deserve? Thankfully, God never gives what is deserved, but instead, God graciously, passionately offers gifts, our bodies, our time, our very lives. God does not give rights but imparts responsibilities --- response-abilities -- inviting us to respond to His love-gifts.
...The secret of joy's flame: Humbly let go. Let go of trying to do, let go of trying to control...let go of my own way, let go of my own fears. Let God blow His wind, His trials, oxygen for joy's fire. Leave the hand open and be. Be at peace. Bend the knees and be small and let God give what God chooses to give because He only gives love, and whisper thanks. This is the fuel for joy's flame. Fullness of joy is discovered only in the emptying of will. And I can empty. I can empty because counting His graces has awakened me to how He cherishes me, holds me, passionately values me. I can empty because I am full of His love. I can trust.
I can let go.
Only self can kill joy.