Friday, September 26, 2008

Quote of the Day: EB White (plus a somewhat meandering sidebar)

We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry.
~EB White in Letters of EB White

I was thinking about this quote this morning while at work, and about the difference between plain old happiness and true joy.

Happiness, according to Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary is "The agreeable sensations which spring from the enjoyment of good; that state of a being in which his desires are gratified, by the enjoyment of pleasure without pain...Perfect happiness, or pleasure unalloyed with pain, is not attainable in this life."

In other words, happiness is temporal, and can be induced by, as EB White says, picking grapes, sorting the laundry, or other pleasures which bring us that immediate satisfaction. But that is fleeting.

Joy, true joy, comes only from that lasting peace. I like this part of the Webster definition of joy. He says it is the " passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good... or by a rational prospect of possessing what we love or desire..."

As Christians, that which we love and desire ought to be our Savior. And, as Christians, that is what will bring us true joy...that hopeful looking forward to eternity with Him. All else is the temporary stuff that yes, brings us happiness, but our joy is in Him alone.

Now, about finding joy in the laundry...

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