The importance of joy

Joy is never meaningless.

Yes, the world is messed up right now, you don’t need me to tell you that. Look at the news for five minutes and you will see a litany of horrors, each worse than the last.

In such a world, at such a time, how dare we seek joy in frivolous things – in movies and music, self-expression and art, fun and friendship?

How dare we not?

We need, as the saying goes, both bread and roses. The basic stuff of life, and something to live for.

Even now, especially now, we need not just to survive the changing world, but to thrive in it.

The religion of my past teaches self-denial, servitude, mortification of the flesh and condemns pride, lust, pleasure as sinful. It is wrong.

While I am not advocating a life of selfish hedonism, I would advocate a life of balance.

To give and give and give without refilling our own well is to drain ourselves dry.

To be paralysed by the horror of global catastrophes is not helping to solve them.

Fear alone cannot keep us going. Only joy can do that.

Only living a life of joy, and yes that can include joy in service, can give us the strength we need to live in these most trying times.

As a queer person, I have grappled with a lot of guilt and shame around my identity, but oddly the most persistent thorn in my side is the sense that to be “camp” is to be silly and frivolous, selfish and vain. How dare I take joy in clothing and make up and spend time working on questions of personal identity when the world is full of LGBT+ people in horrific conditions?

How dare I not?

To live well, to live richly and fully, is to live a life of resistance.

To embrace oneself is to deny those forces that would keep you hidden, keep you silent.

There are many battles worth fighting in the world, and we cannot each of us fight them all.

There are many lives worth saving in the world and it’s OK if you can only save one: and it’s OK if that one is your own.

Paganism may be a path of service, but it is also a path of joy; of creativity, of Awen, of singing and dancing, feasting and lovemaking.

Find joy and rejoice in it even as the world burns aroud you.

Remember the tale of Pandora’s box: at the end, after every fear and plague and evil had been unleashed onto the world, right at the bottom of the box, was hope.

Hope endures.

Joy gives us the strength to endure.

May your days be joyful, now and always.

3 thoughts on “The importance of joy

Add yours

  1. hahaha
    You had me at ‘roses.’ I could not agree more — let’s celebrate this beautiful joyful world. And make it even more so …

    Liked by 2 people

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