The three paths to joy,
Are all relational;
To know and be known.
Joy is extended,
By God above,
When our relational
Seeds are sown.
To know the self, to know others and to be known by them, and to know God – and these three by salient experience – is the production of joy. Joy is the product of being held in healthy relationship.
To know, that is, to experience, and to enjoy three types of relationships; that is joy. To experience God is to enjoy others and to be at peace with ourselves.
Relationships are all that matter,
With ourselves, others and the Lord,
Especially uppermost is the latter,
So we find love’s not a thing to hoard.
Love is a thing to give away because we feel loved. Our relationships with God and with ourselves may be synonymous with the other; one thing we need to get straight is how self-acceptance and grace co-mingle and combine, producing the same effect: peace to love others.
Now, with God we may know love – his all-encompassing grace that promises to neither leave us nor forsake us – and, in that, joy. Such an experience of God’s relational love is the sure path to joy. This is to know God by his Presence; his glory and majesty; to love and serve his dominion.
With others we have a thousand opportunities to sow love every day. Sure, we won’t be perfect, and, when we are finding that car parking space we may fall into a vanity of frustration from time to time. But then we can recover. Indeed, the Lord – as we relate with him in the moment – helps us to recover; our love enough to turn back to patience and, hence, joy.
With us is the third sure path to joy. We ensure we know ourselves sufficiently to cut ourselves the slack we need – the extension of God’s good grace. The more gentle we are with ourselves, the more we are receiving God, and the more we can give to others sacrificially.
To experience God is to enjoy others and to be at peace with ourselves. Three paths to joy occur in the reality of relationship – first with God, then with others, and finally, most fundamentally, with others.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.
Postscript: there are some seasons of life – grief, hardship, trial, and despair – when joy may be an impossible thing to experience. That needs to be said.