First of all, I apologize for the delay in post. I try to post by Saturday night, but I failed. It is also a longer post, but I think if you stick with it you will enJOY it
I was in my college’s chapel at Southern Nazarene University in Bethany Oklahoma on Thursday at noon with no plans for the weekend. Fast-forward 60 hours and I am sitting and laughing in an ice cream shop in Houston Texas with seven of my friends. As I am basking in a consuming feeling of fulfillment, I see the “Chocolate Bar’s” slogan written across their wall: “Where every hour is happy hour.” This slogan caught my attention and inspired me to ask a Thought Fool Question, “What is Joy?”
Here are a few quotes on Joy:
Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.Joseph Campbell
As selfishness and complaint pervert the mind, so love with its joy clears and sharpens the vision. Helen Keller
I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for joy. C. S. Lewis
The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy. Jim Rohn
Love is the joy of the good, the wonder of the wise, the amazement of the Gods. Plato
Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment. Tony Robbins
Joy is not in things; it is in us. Richard Wagner
Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy. Leo Buscaglia
Joy is the fulfillment of one’s heart. Joy is the overwhelming feeling of unconditional love. Joy happens when one wraps their arms around life’s thesis.
1 Peter 8: “You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious inexpressible joy” (NLT).
A look back in my phone notes, brought this poem I wrote on September 19th to my attention:
Thank you for your grace
Lonely as I am, I thank you for the space
Lord if I search for love, what is it worth?
Lord if I search for peace what is it worth?
If I wait for provision, how endless is the bounty?
Lord your gifts are like honey
My achievements are waiting to be forgotten
My rewards are rotten
Lord I pray that you keep me alone until I put you before them
Your embrace is worth more than the praises of a thousand men
Lord thank you for your grace
Lonely as I am, I thank you for the space
As of September 19th, I had been at SNU for a month and I was distraught with dissatisfaction for my life. I came to SNU for two reasons, to continue my collegiate athletic career and build a community of believers that I could call friends. After a month, football was going poorly, and I had no strong friendships to speak of. The circumstances of my life left me in pain. I was unhappy.
The word happy is derived from “happenings,” or in other words, circumstances. One is happy when their circumstances are what he/she desires. I was unhappy because my circumstance did not match up with my desires.
Fast forward to December 11th when I was in the car with two of my classmates about to drive back to California. That day I was content, but not as happy as I expected to be. I hadn’t seen California for over 7 months, and I felt uncomfortable. That day I was leaving SNU and I was not sure if I was ever coming back. I was no longer playing football at SNU, and I had an opportunity to play football at three other great schools. Why did I feel uncomfortable? SNU did not have the ability to provide the circumstances I desired anymore, so the choice would be easy.
Fast forward again to January 10th, that day I was getting back in my car, and saying good-bye to my pursuit of happiness. I had decided during my winter break to transfer to Campbellsville University to play football under two former professional Quarterbacks. I got there and the school had all the tools to give me the circumstances of my dreams, but yet something was missing. I prayed and prayed, and then realized I was giving up joy for happiness. At SNU I had felt loved, I had began to build genuine friendships and I felt more loved by the Lord than ever before. I decided to leave Campbellsville so that I could spend the next two and a half years basking in the love of the community at SNU, and to continue growing closer to the Lord.
Now lets go back to Sunday morning February 16, 2014 12:00 am, that night I felt more absorbed by love, more absorbed by joy, than ever before. Why? I felt joy because I said no to circumstantial pleasures, and said yes to unconditional love.
In that chapel I offered a few of my friends a quick suggestion, “If you guys find me a ticket, I will drive.” That one suggestion did not launch a thousand ships, but an even more powerful army. That one suggestion launched my friends onto social media in the hopes of finding tickets to Passion 2014 in Houston Texas. We got the tickets and 12 hours later I was at the gas station about to drive back to my dorm in the hopes of getting 6 hours of sleep before the long day of driving, but then my car wouldn’t start.
I got someone at the gas station to give me a jump and I got back to school. Once at school I called my friend Chris, and we began to look at my car to see why it wouldn’t hold a charge. We did some investigating and assumed it was the battery, and at this point it was closing in on 1am. So I had two choices love, or happiness; Passion 14 or staying in Oklahoma. I chose love. My friend Chris, who wasn’t even going with us, went with me and helped me get a new battery for my car, and then install it. I got back in my dorm at 3:30 in the morning. I was unhappy, but excited for the impending Joy.
During the next 42 hours I was loved by 7 of my favorite people at SNU, Eric Smith, Tyler Ray, Lindsey Fudge, Mallory Redwine, Nathan Martin, Katie Cosper and Felipe Simões. We laughed, talked, loved, and worshipped our Lord and Savior together. During those 42 hours I got 2 hours of sleep and spent 18 hours in worship amongst those same 7 people and 18,000 other college-aged Christians. The Joy in that arena was inexpressible, so here is a picture.
I came back to SNU in the pursuit of deep joyful friendship and a relationship with the Lord that’s joy is inexpressible. On Saturday February 16th, 12:00am the clarity of love assured me I made the right decision. My heart was fulfilled, I was overwhelmed by unconditional love, and I was embraced by life’s thesis. I attempted to argue with life’s thesis, but I failed and gave in. I now realize that every hour can’t be happy hour. I realize circumstances will fail me. I realize that joy will never fail me. I realize that love can comfort me at 3:00 a.m. changing a battery in a Wal-Mart parking lot. I realize that worshiping amongst 18,000 people was more fulfilling than throwing a touchdown. I realize that friendship is worth more than fans. I now I realize the Lord’s bread tastes better than the world’s chocolate.
I see Joy as the fulfillment of one’s heart, the feeling of unconditional love, and the embrace of life’s thesis, but I am a foolish 21 year old who thinks way too much and asks questions that I may never answer. My only hope is that by asking ‘thought fool questions’ I may spark a conversation with you, because thinking alone is not really thinking.