Mysterious Joy


They live in a mystery, these people live in a mystery.

It’s joy that holds them up.

That was what mattered. It was joy that held them up, no matter if the wings grew out of their backs or were somehow held on with buckles and clamps.

Stephen King, The Talisman

When I read this short passage in The Talisman, I could not help but smile. The idea that joy is found in mystery struck me. Joy is different from happiness, although the two are related. Unlike happiness, which is often temporary and has a causal relationship, joy is…more. A line from Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem “God’s Grandeur” comes to mind: “There lives the dearest freshness deep down things.” Joy reminds me of that line.

When I think of happiness, I think of things that inspire happiness–a cat’s purr, a sunset, a hug from a friend. I love all of those little moments that bring happiness and call forth eucharisteo. Who doesn’t? But joy is deeper. Joy comes from deep within and seems to be more of an attitude–even a way of life–than a momentary reaction to a pleasant occurrence. Joy abides in a mystery…believers are called to abide in God (who is mystery)…then joy is found by abiding in a mysterious God?



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