What do Quakers have to say about Joy? Friends through the centuries have found joy for themselves in the Quaker way but have often seemed to others grave and serious in their demeanour to the point of joylessness.
In many passages in Quaker Faith & Practice joy is mentioned and we are urged to share our joys as well as our sorrows, but how often do we do this? When there are so many troubles in the world and we are aware of and trying to assuage the troubles in the lives of those we know, do we hold back from sharing the joy in our own lives for fear of making others feel worse?
When I thought about this I realised that in not expressing my joy I am falling short. True friendship, which is such an important part of a true Quaker community, means being free to share anything - not just serious concerns and troubling problems but small happinesses and deep joys. William Blake perhaps puts it best in this short poem.
Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine,
Under every grief and pine,
Runs a joy with silken twine.
It is right it should be so,
We were made for joy and woe,
And when this we rightly know,
Through the world we safely go.