CHARACTER development is the goal of life. If we see this is the case then virtue learning becomes a goal in and of itself. Learning not of new knowledge. It’s about learning virtues that will carry us better through life, preparing us for what is beyond this life. This life is the learning ground for the next.
Joy is one of those virtues we need. To live a life of joy we must grapple with contentedness. Real joy is found in being content — no matter the circumstances. Joy is a pervasive quality. It becomes us. We hope we may exude joy.
In regards to sadness, loneliness plays the same part. When we are sad, we are really lonely. There is a gap in our being that just hungers for some joy. When we are lonely we are hopefully at truth with the sadness in our soul. Nobody likes being sad, but if we are able to be at truth with it then we are able to grow. Such growth is toward contentedness and a sustaining joy — again, notwithstanding the circumstances.
Joy grows in our contentedness when we can happily coexist with our sadness. And contentedness reflects the notion of acceptance — to accept the things we cannot change.
Maturity is approached when we accept the things we cannot change. There are just so many things we cannot change that we struggle to accept. One way to accept the things we cannot change is to dwell upon the truth of our sadness rather than complain.
It is far easier to complain, but the pride in complaint holds us back from approaching the truth in our sadness. Pride shields us from growth because pride cannot handle the truth. Pride results in a compromised joy where we cannot attain to contentedness.
Sadness and loneliness are keys to the truth of joy and contentedness because they abide in truth, and joy and contentedness cannot stand up unless they are experienced in truth.
We cannot fake joy and we cannot pretend we are content. We have joy or we don’t. We are content or we aren’t.
Sadness and loneliness are when they are. But we would prefer to pretend they weren’t there. But unless we can be truthful about sad and lonely times we cannot be truthful enough to enjoy the times we are joyful and content.
Better than pretending to be joyous and content is to experience the real thing. Ironically, it’s the courage to experience real sadness and loneliness that opens the way to joy and contentedness.
Joy and contentedness are experienced within the courage to enter the truth of sadness and loneliness.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.