The Strength of Joy

It’s time we stopped short-changing joy
because joy is strength

Suffering breaks the backs of those who labour under it
Fear is the vampire that drains your life away
Bitterness spreads its parasitic roots around your heart to shrivel it
to dust
Unforgiveness, like greed, selfishness, and self-centredness
takes fresh water
and fills it with salt until everything in it has died
Pride leaches into the soil
until not even weeds can grow

“It’s only when we’ve experienced darkness
that we can fully appreciate the light”
“We have to go through suffering
before we can really appreciate healing”



Despair will break you
Twist you
Warp you
Shrink you
Kill you in the slowest, most painful way you can imagine
from the inside
black tendrils from your weakest points
until the fire in you has turned to coals
until your bones are so misshapen
you cannot move
you cannot save yourself
until its progenitor, death
becomes your identity
so strongly
that you let go of life
to embrace the only reality
you think you have left
it is osteoperosis in your soul
and you will melt in it
if it had its way.

So darkness will show you the light?
Darkness shows nothing
reveals nothing
all it does is hide
like Adam and Eve after they ate the apple
sure in their hearts that God would kill them for it
they had lost track of how powerful his love is
the serpent didn’t bring them enlightenment
didn’t make them gods themselves
the serpent turned them against all that was good
and, in doing so, took away their power
to overcome
All he had to do
was convince them that God had withheld from them
that light wasn’t enough
that we have to know darkness before we truly understand
but he is the father of lies
and that was when he sired them

Suffering comes
Pain seeks to bring us to our knees
how do we stand?
how do we get up when we have fallen?
Not by embracing the darkness
a villain becomes so when he succumbs to
the evilness of his circumstances
when he decides to become them
when he decides to grab hold of what hurt him
and become its living embodiment
that is not strength
that is defeat
that is how flesh withers and leaves the skull behind

But joy

“The joy of the Lord is your strength”
“For the joy set before him, he endured the cross”

Pounding a rock does not tell us how to appreciate it
it tells us what to use to build our foundation
it tells us the strength of the material
and how it will hold us
in the fiercest storms
Darkness does not tell us how to appreciate light
Light tells us that we can trust it
because no matter how dark the room is
everyone can see the candle
Joy is like that
if it exists, in any form
in any size
it doesn’t matter how much suffering surrounds it
or the enemies come to bear down on it
even if there is only a speck
the size of a mustard seed
all the mountains of fear cannot stand against it
wherever it goes
they must flee
whenever it grows
they must shrink
Darkness does not define the power of light
rather, light defines the boundaries of darkness
it says
“you may come no further
this is my territory”
and the darkness must obey
it is powerless against the light
so it is with joy
with delight
with that fountain of zest for life
it tells despair where it can and cannot go
not the other way around

It’s time we stopped short-changing joy
and accept
suffering only pretends it is powerful
and joy is too busy being strong
to ever lie to you.

Erica's Story (WIP title) | The Books of Bílo (WIP title) #1
First draft 29%
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