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The 'Thereness' of Joy

Would you permit me to say a further word about joy? It is just so central to my own thought and life. It’s on my short list of the most important things needed to live a good life.

Joy shines through tears.

Joy is not to be held hostage by emotion–not by any emotion. Joy is that deep, eternal substance (I need a better word here) that is constant to human life.

Joy is unmotivated. Joy is there. Joy is there when we fail; when we suffer unspeakable loss; when we’re humiliated; when we’re abused; when we’ve been wrong, no matter how many times; when we’re depressed. Do you see where this is going?

Joy is there whether you can feel it in any given moment or not. It is foundational to every human life. It is eternal bedrock. It is the star around which life revolves.

Joy enables you to get up, to get up again. No matter how weak our efforts may be, when we’re crawling on hands and knees, or lying helpless, keep your eyes on joy.

When life is moving toward joy in joy, the outcomes will always be better. Joy works powerfully to tame bitterness, selfishness, hurt, unfairness, and all the other experiences that threaten to reduce our lives, to make us small.

Put the word joy on your refrigerator, on the visor in your car, on your school bag, by your bed, on your mop handle, on your garbage can. Yes, especially on your garbage can.


    My name, Landon, means “from the long hill.” I started my life in the hills of West Virginia. As a boy I kept climbing those long hills so I could see farther. After a lifetime of journeys and many climbs, I can now see much better, see so much more.

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