Delight: Rediscovering the Joy
To delight (be satisfied, gratified, entirely content) is to receive a high (perhaps the highest) degree of pleasure or joy.
To give delight is to share our life in such a way that our presence, gifts, and strengths bring satisfaction to those with whom they are shared.
For example, who doesn’t remember the moments in which we tasted pure, thick, and lasting delight?
- A first love.
- A life-long goal or ambition finally achieved.
- The birth of a child (or first steps and words).
- The taste of a lover’s kiss.
- A piece of literature that re-framed the way you viewed the world.
- A piece of art that lingers in your minds-eye.
Yes. We desperately want to experience a sense of delight and joy. It’s as if our entire being crave it.
Delight: A Soul-Craving Pursuit to Be Satisfied
The purchases we make, the company we keep, the places we spend our time, all serve as answers to our pervasive desire to be loved. That’s what love is: the desire to take delight in others and to be delighted in by others.
Yes, delight is intractably hooked to love.
Together they serve as our body’s connective tissue that enables us to “climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow,” as it were.
While the drive to experience and extend delight is part-and-parcel of what it means to be human, it’s an experience we seldom feel, these days.
We notice the absence of delight everywhere around us.
This was not always the case. While no culture or society has ever been a beacon of delight, it seems that other cultures were more aware of its absence and expressed a longing for its recurrence.
In Shakespeare’s Sonnet XCI, for example, he compares lesser loves, or delights, to more substantial ones.
Poets are Priests of Passion and Delight
His poem accentuates the vast difference between finding delight in hawks and hounds as opposed to finding delight in love and loving. The former, though not insignificant, never captures the heart or holds captive the will quite like the latter.
Some glory in their birth, some in their skill,
Some in their wealth, some in their body’s force,
Some in their garments though new-fangled ill;
Some in their hawks and hounds, some in their horse;
And every humour hath his adjunct pleasure,
Wherein it finds a joy above the rest:
But these particulars are not my measure,
All these I better in one general best.
Thy love is better than high birth to me,
Richer than wealth, prouder than garments’ cost,
Of more delight than hawks and horses be;
And having thee, of all men’s pride I boast:
Wretched in this alone, that thou mayst take
All this away, and me most wretched make.
In his sonnet, the love of another is the height of delight. As such, to love is to delight! To delight in a way that holds one captive quite unlike anything else can.
What can account for such power in life?
Perhaps our insatiable need to experience and extend delight lies behind the myriad hurts, habits, and hang-up we’ve accumulated in our life?
Delight, rightly experienced, is at the core of what it means to be human. It’s not the quest for delight that enslaves as much as it is the aim of our desires.
In fact, it’s connected to the image of God, found in creation.
Creation: The Moment God blessed he doubled-down on Delight!
It doesn’t take long to notice the pervasive presence of delight in the biblical Creation account. By the time God’s creative work is complete He has proclaimed His delight no less than seven times. In Genesis 1:31 we read,
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold; it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning, the sixth day.
With the creation of humankind comes the accentuation of delight! While God’s delight is evident at every turn, when He reaches the pinnacle of His creation, humanity, delight also reaches its zenith. While you and I weren’t there, the stickiness of this moment clings to the human soul today.
God has always been a God who takes delight in His people!
We long for this, but we no longer experience it.
If we are to grow into His image, this is the place where that growth begins!
If we are to journey ever-more profoundly into the majestic love of God, we will do so only if we start with a sense of the delight He takes in us and extends to us!
Disrupting to Renew!