November 2021
Joy and Gratitude

Thoughts on Joy

This article is also available in Spanish here. Este artículo está disponible en español aquí.

Let us talk about what it means to be filled with everlasting joy. Everybody has a different definition of joy, and my joy has often been seen by others as unorthodox, improbable even, because of the pace of my life. I am naturally a busy person, and my schedule is always packed to the brim with various jobs, responsibilities and activities. I was raised to be an independent, loving, and strong-willed individual, and I take pride in that.

I also take on a lot of responsibility and as a consequence, finding joy for myself can be difficult. I find it most fulfilling to bring joy into my life whenever life permits it. This joy can come at any time in the day and from anywhere.

Joy comes when we love

I take a lot of pride in my craft and what I do, but above all, I am most proud of serving as an older sibling to the lovely people around me. That is what I strive to be. It is my joy, for nothing means more to me than being the older sibling – even to the angels.

I try to live by the philosophy that you should fall in love with everything. And I mean, literally everything. That bookshelf that looks really pretty as you’re walking down the street? You should definitely fall in love with that. The hot tea that you sweetened perfectly for the first time ever? That too! If you learn to appreciate those things and fall in love with life along the way, finding joy will become a lot easier.

I’ve found that this true for me, even when joy feels impossible. Before adopting this mindset, I never knew what brought my soul joy, because I never knew that joy could come to me. Was I even worthy of it? When I ask myself these questions, I often find that I doubt my own ability to bring others joy. What I have come to love about joy as I grow in faith, in life and in this beautiful world, is that it is more than just the word. Joy can take on many identities.

For my friends joy can take shape in their music, actions, friends, family, artwork and so much more. Through the storm, there is always an eye, and through that eye, a sliver of hope. When I help others find joy, I'm able to see their light and help them spark a light even brighter within others. That alone, is plentiful joy beyond belief for me. It is enough to make me content. I do not need much more than to see my little siblings strive to be better for all the other little siblings in the world.

Joy will return

When learning how to live a new life in a time surrounded by uncertainty, I find myself scavenging for joy. We are creeping now towards a magnificent time of year! Filled with rejoicing, food and Mariah Carey every which way! This is seen as the most joyful time of year and yet, we act as if this beautiful feeling that can embody everything is scarce.

A lot of my life was spent on trying to find joy and then keep it, forever. It does not work like that. As with all things, joy comes and goes. That is more than okay. It is a magnificent aspect of joy. This feeling we so tirelessly seek was meant to go away. It is not forever, but present for a time. If we constantly experience a singular form of emotional stimulation, we get tired of it. That tight hug you receive from your favorite cousin during the upcoming winter no longer brings that same smile. The dogs at the park playing tag all evening long will not forever hold the same place in your lovely heart. The city of Oxnard, California, lighting up their magnificent tree in the plaza park will go unappreciated, unseen.
Joy, temporary as it may be, was meant to be this way. Life will throw you a masterful loop, and while we cannot prepare for everything, we can be ready to accept that joy will return. We need not to seek it out, but realize that all we see, all we do and all we feel embody our purest joys. When past pain shows up, I have found it helpful to be relentless with your joy. Persevere beyond all measure, and be the difference-maker you need.

All is possible when you believe, and I believe in you. Love all things that you find joy in, and love even more the aspects of life where the light of joy is missing.

Seventeen-year-old Jaivan E. Ortiz Mohorko is a proud Puerto Rican baseball player and writer based in Oxnard, California. He aspires to reach out to the world as a friend and role model and takes pleasure in meeting new people and creating connections that will last a lifetime. He says that he thrives in this crazy world. It is his happy place.


This article is part of the November 2021 Vestry Papers issue on Joy and Gratitude