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Pleasure, happiness, joy

What’s the difference?

Imagine yourself savoring a banana split sundae – smooth, cool, creamy vanilla ice cream with warm hot fudge slathered all over, and sliced bananas along with some crunchy chopped walnuts. Mmmmm – yummy! Such pleasure!

Are you happy? Well, yes, for the next few minutes. After that? Well ...

Is your heart filled with joy? No, actually it isn’t.

Now, imagine that your boyfriend has asked you to go out to a movie or to a dance with him. Or imagine that your girlfriend has told you that she really likes you and wants to be with you more often.

Are you happy? You bet! Filled with pleasure? Well, you’re experiencing something more than just pleasure. Joy? Well, maybe – but just for a while.

Now imagine that you’ve finished college and have a job. You’ve dated quite a few different people but just haven’t found “The One.” Then it happens. The love of your life enters and captures your heart. Your thoughts, feelings, emotions, daydreams and all of your being is fully engaged with the one you love.

And then it happens – one of you “pops the question” and proposes marriage. Do you feel pleasure? Pleasure is too paltry a word to describe what’s happening to you. Are you happy? Well, of course. But you are much more than happy – you are filled with joy. Joy is happiness taken to a deeper and more profound level.

Pleasure is simply feeling gratified. But as nice as pleasure may be, life is not about simply experiencing it. There’s more to life than pleasure.

Happiness? Well, let’s face it, happiness isn’t necessarily something lasting in our lives. It’s far from being permanent. Moreover it just comes upon you. You can’t buy it, earn it, or achieve it. Happiness is a by-product of the way you live.

Joy, however, is an intense happiness and a complete fulfillment that is definitely deeper and more profound than pleasure or happiness. There’s something lasting, something permanent that comes with joy.

Joy is found only in relationships – relationships with others who know you and who love you for who you are. Joy is found in giving happiness to one you love. Joy is found in sharing your very inner self with one you love. Joy is deep, lasting, profound and hopefully permanent. Joy is the confident security that you are loved forever, no matter what.

Heaven?  It’s the ecstatic joy of sharing love with God along with those you love forever and ever.