The Best Way to Preserve Your Paschal Joy

This day has come! The solemn exclamation Christ is risen! has broken the silence of the spring night and filled our hearts with joy. In the days leading up to Easter night, I could feel that everything inside me gained new life and meaning. I was thinking of this event that has inspired people for two thousand years. It has renewed and purified our feelings. It makes you want to lead a different life – not the painful existence tinted by the bitter feeling of your own unchangeable imperfection – but Let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal Kingdom has been revealed (The Easter Homily of St. John Chrysostom).

It’s Easter today but our day has started with a conflict. Or rather, a misunderstanding. Who can talk of joy when your old self is like a narrow old skin that squeezes you all around. You feel that your soul is so narrow… It’s like the song by Leonid Fedorov, “I went out today, I was walking and falling down, walking and falling down. I lay and cried that I didn’t want anything at all.”

I don’t want anything at all, indeed.

I don’t know how He does it but there was a point when it suddenly dawned on me how silly it was to lose temper over mere trifles. We are exhausted and battered people who need comfort and happiness and understanding. We’ve got to grow out of this inertia, this narrowness of self. We’ve got to slough that old skin. How?

We sat down and talked. And the Joy returned.

Sometimes I think that life is full of suffering and we carry death within ourselves (Clouds Passing By, a poem by Joseph Brodsky). Sometimes I’d like that light of Resurrection to shine forth so that there would be no more troubles, pain, suffering, and shortcomings. Perhaps, that’s really the case: And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (John 1:5).

I read a Facebook post a couple of days ago, and it had the following general idea: All suffering, grief, and solitude has meaning for us because it is a chance for us to show our love, kindness, and acceptance of other people. And it’s not just about people that we should care, it’s all living beings around us.

I’d like to recall a story from my life.

It happened on a Bright Monday. The joy of Easter inside me has already waned. I felt as usual. We had a visit to make to a boarding home. It was located in the vicinity of the city and patronaged by our sisters. Traditionally, we congratulate all residents of the boarding home on Easter. We have molebens in the units and distribute some delicious treats. When we finally got to the last unit several hours later, we were pretty tired. A nurse told us that there wasn’t anyone in the most distant wards. However, our tradition required us to visit every ward, and that was what we did that time. It turned out that there was an old lady in the last ward. When we started singing the Easter Canon, she rose from her bed and looked at us with clear and shiny eyes filled with tears. Imagine what an elderly person left alone by their relatives in a boarding home feels? The clear light of her eyes, her meek gratitude and pure joy evoked genuine happiness in our hearts. The wonderful thing about joy (and I mean joy as opposed to fun and entertainment, which we often take for it) is that you get back more than you give!

That is why if you want to preserve joy, share it with others. Share it without hesitation and without holding it back. Share it so that others who need it could also have it. Show your patience and love to those who need them. You won’t lose anything, I tell you.

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