Summary: when we invest our time in thinking most about the things that will give us joy, we will feel more calm, energy, and strength to move forward.
When you think of philosophy, you might think of esoteric questions like, “Is the chair really there?” or “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” Those questions are more important than may appear at first glance, but most people are not really that interested in them. What people are interested in is finding a way to live better and make it through the struggles of life. The Stoics and many other philosophers in the time of Christ made that their focus. The philosopher Seneca made a surprising statement about what our most important task was. He wrote to his young apprentice Lucilius, “Above all, my dear Lucilius, make this your business. Learn how to feel joy” (Letter XXIII). How about a philosophy class that started out that way? Our first priority will be to help us all feel true joy.
It’s a business or a task, though, because joy is not always easy to come by. There’s a lot that can keep us from feeling joy.
To begin with, we do not work on it. Have we ever made it a goal? How many of us want to become people of great joy? How often have we prayed for it? Continue reading “Think Most About the Joy of Each Day”
My then 18 year old son, David, told my wife and me that he wanted to talk out in the outdoor living room. My wife and I sat down in our wicker coach, and he took a seat on the porch swing. “Mom and Dad, I’ve decided that I want to get married.”
Not longer after, he married our daughter-in-law, Nicole from Colombia, at the Sun Outdoors Conference Center where our church met weekly. Then, they moved into . . . my basement. This wasn’t what they wanted. Waiting lists for apartments in Gatlinburg, TN were about six months wherever they applied.
The wait was only five months, and those five months turned out surprisingly well. We learned to really love our new daughter-in-law deeply, and the marriage was working. However, when the Riverwalk Apartments down the street called and said that they had an opening, nobody hesitated.
The day David and Nicole moved into their one bedroom apartment was a special day. I was amazed at how excited they were. They were renting their own apartment! Nicole was crying and then laughing, high levels of emotional expression, even by Colombian standards.
It made me think, what if I could look at my own house that way each day? I really love my house. It sits on a cul-de-sac on .5 acres of unique wooded land that terminates at a creek in a gulley. It has beautiful wood floors, a large bay window, beautiful built-in shelves, a well-crafted fireplace, and many other features. It is 2,500 square feet. Outside, we have a large three-level deck. We turned our carport into an outdoor living room that we love. We have a firepit. We have a pool. It’s in a quiet neighborhood, but it’s in the middle of everything. Beyond that, it sits on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and one of the great vacation destinations in our nation. Continue reading “See Your House Like You Did the First Day You Got It”