Joy: What does it mean to us?
Sunny-colored dish soap? The new gadget in its packaging? The heart-equivalent of bungee-jumping excitement?
Joy: the way the leaves dance in the wind under the gray. The sound of my husband’s voice on the phone, and the wool slippers on my narrow feet. The intense blue of the sky — even as terror unfolded. The patter of rain.
It’s friends laughing over chocolate, the rustle of book-pages, the shine of a cat’s eyes. Joy is solitary in some respects because it comes down to noticing: an individual act, a decision to open one’s self to the facets of the multiverse.
Who is the God of joy? It’s easy to say Aonghus Og, the young son, winged lord of desire. But they all are.
The joy of warriors going into their last battle: the joy of the Morrigan. The joy of right choice, the fulfillment of duty, the keeping of one’s word: Nuada. The joy of the green wilds, or of the kitchen stove with its smells, or the river swelled by the storm — all joy.
It’s an attitude, first and foremost. And perhaps that’s why we don’t recognize or cultivate it in popular culture. You can’t pop a pill for joy, ads from the pharmaceutical industry notwithstanding. Buying the latest gadget might bring you amusement, but not joy. Joy does not spring from lack, and it doesn’t feed scarcity. It negates scarcity.
How do you define joy?