There is an extraordinary Jesuit priest. His name is Teilhard de Chardin. Teilhard once said, “Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God!” I don’t know much. Each day I think I know even less. Perhaps it is growing old but life seems more simple. I know the questions never cease, just when you think you find some sort of partial answer – the questions change and the dance continues. I know that many shudder when they hear the word ‘journey’ – that it is too much of a cliche – but, sorry – life is a journey. It has its ups and downs, its swings and roundabouts, its storms and gentle sunrises. And I know that in the midst of all of this our job is to be faithful, to be real, honest, courageous in the little things and to forever hope.
But more than anything I know that there is an intimate – unbreakable, unchangeable bond between joy and love. I also know with total certainty that ultimately love conquers fear, love will always win out over tyranny and love, sometimes through a veil of tears – will always tickle you with joy.
Like the butterfly, joy chased is never caught. But when you trust that urge within, trust yourself to the whisper of the heart, risk that dance your toes begin to tap and look with childlike wonder at flower and sunset and friend – you will know joy in the most beautiful of ways. Like love, joy can never be bought. It must dance free, it must be hugged and tickled into life and it must be allowed to weave its magic.
The shallow, the fake, the ego satisfied, greed, power over, pleasure and possessions can all masquerade as joy or its journey. Too often each of these lead to the empty morning after feeling. Too often they create a world of pretend where the questions nor the heart struggles are never real – but only an easy doorway to more pain.
Joy sneaks up on the lover for the lover gives. Crazy eh! But when we give, when we are other centred, when we empty of greed and ego we are embraced by joy, real joy, heart hugging joy, peace gifting joy and we discover a heart home.
Have you looked into the eyes of a lover? Have you looked into the eyes of the one the greed world calls ‘fool’? Have you looked into the eyes of the childlike? You will see a mischievous smile, a twinkle of eye and a peace beyond words – you will see joy.
Like the seed buried deep beneath the winter snow, joy bides its time. It is forever there but sometimes not so easily seen. It is forever there but will not appear at the click of fingers or the switch flick of power. No, joy, forever there will whisper when needed, will wrap arms when needed, will appear when heart needed but not focused upon. Joy has a fireside warmth, a gentle presence that enfolds and a depth of presence that is neither fleeting nor forced.
Joy knows pain. Joy knows the fidelity of the midnight bedside watch beside the lonely the lost and the ill. Joy knows the sacrifice of commitment and the courage to see beauty when all around screams not. Joy know the pain of powerlessness as the addict shakes, the trapped weave bonds ever tighter and the power bound player clings to shallow scripts. But even here, the pilgrim and the poet, the lover and the dreamer cling, walk beside, sit with and be. And despite the tears that these vagabonds shed, joy will tickle and sneak through for it is the face of love, the other glove of hurt and the flower from the seed of that very pain.
Joy does not constantly laugh. It does not need to. Joy does not constantly smile – how real is that? Joy is the underneath knowing beyond words that all will be well, the there is meaning and purpose, that love will always have the last say.
Commitment nurtures joy. Pain deepens it. Loyalty cloaks it. Integrity knows it. Giving gives birth to it. Fidelity sustains it and love whispers it as YOUR heart song deep within. Set out on the journey, walk it with feeble felt courage, trust in your dreaming, gather lovers round you and joy will be your deepest soul mate.
Yes, joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.