Ask an Eastern Orthodox Christian: Can One Find Joy in this Life?
Commentary by Nicholas Damascus
Why is unhappiness so prevalent, and can one find any joy in this life?
Unhappy? Are you restless? Don’t know why. Feel like something is wrong? Experiencing an uneasiness and a feeling that something is missing and yet cannot discern as to what it might be? Trying to ignore it, yet it still remains?
People have everything or have access to everything and yet want more. And when they possess more, they feel empty and dissatisfied. They want to feel whole and complete, and that never seems to come. Everything appears to be all right, and yet everything is wrong.
Bombarded by an avalanche of streaming data and consumed in endless activities and distracting events, we are at a loss when the dial is turned off, and we face the dreadful meaningless of it all in the quiet.
Fifteen hundred years ago, Saint Augustine wrote, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts will be [forever] restless until they rest in you.”
This confession of faith resonates deep within us that we are created to be in communion with God [and with one another]. It is his infinite and eternal presence that can fill that void, emptiness and restlessness within us to bring us the fulfilling “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.”
What this world has to offer, as in fame, wealth or possessions, is momentary, and, eventually, all of it turns to dust. It is relationship that is eternal now and forever. It is communion that makes us be, for our existence and being is communion.
Nick Damascus is one who seeks to discover and apply the proverbial question of what is truth and wisdom, to fill that gaping hole, to become complete and to become realistically and synergistically functional. In an attempt to live the Christian life, which he says is a definite work in progress, he has discovered that he’s created the Christ that fits his lifestyle and agrees with his ego (and boy what an ego, he says), often finding himself avoiding what God intended him to be.