I think that there is a difference between JOY and HAPPINESS. I believe that joy can definitely be found in suffering by focusing on the beauty of life, which must include suffering. If it weren't for suffering, we would not appreciate the many delights of living. If I suffer, I know I am capable of feeling deeply, of living deeply. I know that after every period of suffering comes a period of relief; this knowing makes joy possible even during the suffering. My Christian faith reinforces my beliefs. Christ's suffering on the cross was necessary for the great joy and glory of the resurrection. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, "After every Good Friday, there is an Easter Sunday." The Bible tells us that "At nightfall weeping enters in,/But with dawn comes rejoicing." I watched my mother and my father endure much suffering with great dignity and acceptance. When I am suffering, I find joy in their examples, in the beauty of nature and life, in my Christian faith, in my belief that God can turn all things--even our suffering--into something good and wonderful and joyous. I'm not seeking happiness because I don't think we CAN seek it, but I'm always open to the spirit of joy that is part of our essential make-up. Joy is within us all--in our hearts, in our souls, in the fabric of our being. Like grace we need only to be open to it and grateful for it. If we are, it is given to us freely--even when we are suffering.
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