Happiness happens, but joy abides.

If happiness is the weather, then joy is the climate.

Joy NouwenWeather consists of the current temperature and the presence or absence of sun, clouds, rain, wind and storms.  Climate is the underlying conditions that ultimately creates the weather; altitude, distance from the sea, latitude, the prevailing winds and mountain ranges. The difference between weather and climate is a measure of time. Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere behaves over relatively long periods of time.  An easy way to remember the difference is that climate is what you expect and the weather is what you get. We expect a very hot summer, but that doesn’t mean we won’t have a hot day with late thunderstorms.

“Life is 10 percent what happens to me
and 90 percent how I react to it.”
Charles Swindoll

So if climate is what you expect, weather is what you get; then likewise optimism and joy are what we expect and life is what happens. There may well be unexpected storms and troubles, but our underlying attitude will affect how we experience such events. Charles Swindoll said, “Life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it.”

Optimism is the tendency to expect the best possible outcome or to dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation. Optimists usually feel that good things will happen in the future or that what they hope and dream for will happen. By nature, most people tend toward either optimism or pessimism. Everyone’s glass is either “half full” or “half empty.” Optimism is not necessarily the same as faith in God, but faith can build optimism. Optimistic people find more enjoyment in life and are usually more pleasant to be around because they refuse to worry about things they cannot control. But sometimes even optimists can get beaten down by life. Sometimes the weather sets in; divorce, death of loved ones, unemployment, accidents and chronic illness can rob the joy from life and we spend our time going through the motions and we wonder if we will even see a sunny day again.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,
for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
and getting over deep grief and disappointment also takes time. But it is not just about waiting, we can actively work to strengthen our sense of optimism and create joy in our lives.

This is the gospel, and it’s good news.

Brian Spencer, Minister