Tag: joyful books

Surprised by Joy

Surprised by Joy

Life is so wonderful that I am often surprised by joy. This is the title of a book by C. S Lewis but I think it is a great phrase to keep in mind as one goes through life. I am so frequently surprised by joy, the joy of living, the joy of love and of all the beautiful things in the world. Call me a cock-eyed optimist but as Desiderata so wisely and beautifully says,’ For all its broken dreams and promises, it is still a beautiful world.’ Borrowing again from the inspiring and insightful verses of Desiderata, ‘Many persons strive with high ideals and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Joy in the wonder of life

Most people are kind, nature is awesome and the world is a wonder of God’s creation. This leads me to be often surprised by joy. As a biochemist, I see the intricacy of the blueprint of life that no man could ever design. Not even the new smart A1 or NASA scientists could get the metabolic feedback mechanisms of the human body so perfect that this machine can go on for nearly 100 years.

My mum just turned 100 and it is amazing that she is still here and what she has seen in her lifetime. World wars, The Great Depression, the building of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, the life of Queen Elizabeth II, her contemporary. So many man-made inventions, the airplane, the car, telephone, television. computer, space rocket. The list goes on, but none are as intricate as the workings of the human body and the mind.

In our self-centered busy lives, we can lose sight of the wonders of ourselves and our environment. We get caught up in our own needs and forget others not as fortunate and fail to notice the wonders of the natural world. We put too much stock into material possessions and not enough into richness of spirit, that of kindness, patience, forgiveness. Also, we destroy our natural world, not realising how essential it is for our life within it.

Joy is kindness, patience and forgiveness

These human qualities are the benchmark to aspire to and not always easy to implement when surrounded by vexatious and critical people. These human virtues feature in all the religions of the world as a code to live by. The grim alternative is to succumb to the law of the jungle which is every man for himself. Forgiveness however is probably most celebrated within the Christian religion as it is integral to its message. Which brings me back to the phrase ‘Surprised by joy’.

C.S.Lewis and Surprised by Joy.

Clive Staples Lewis wrote a book called Surprised by Joy. Born in Belfast, he came to study at Oxford during the interwar years and was a contemporary of J.R.R Tolkien (of The Hobbit fame). Tolkien led a reluctant Lewis to Christianity. After much academic argument, eventually Lewis conceded that a divine creator made more sense than nothingness and explained the wonders of the universe better than attributing it all as pure chance. He went on to write many books with Christian themes and is probably best known for his Narnia series including The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Along the way he met a woman called Joy. She was Jewish and had escaped an abusive husband. Lewis and Joy fell in love.

The book, Surprised by Joy is about their relationship and is a poignant read. There is a film version too with Anthony Hopkins as Lewis. But the title of the book also refers to Lewis’s newly found joy in life itself. When Lewis himself died he along with other writer luminaries was interred at Westminster in Poet’s Corner. The inscription on his tomb reads, ‘I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it but because by it, I see everything else.’

Joyful books

As a writer, I like to write joyfully, to uplift and inspire. No crimes in my books! Check out my happy fiction reads on Joni’s Beautiful Books Page. If you like to read nonfiction then both Desiderata, the poem, and Lewis’s books are great reads to make you pause and think on the human condition within the heavenly universe.

My favourite Desiderata verse is ‘Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence.’ It is hard to find silence these days. Everywhere people talk on mobiles letting the world know their private lives, cars roar, music blares. Even at the beach there are jet skis! Arrh! but try to find a spot to read or reflect and nurture your soul and spirit. God bless.

Focus on the good and you will be surprised by joy!

Joni Scott is an Australian author with three published novels: Whispers through Time and The Last Hotel and Colour Comes to Tangles. Joni also co-hosts a women’s blog; https://whisperingencouragement.com/ and has her own website; https://joniscottauthor.com.