Are you happy? Do you have joy in your life? There is a difference between scattered moments of happiness and true joy.

I’m in the process of reading “The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World,” by Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the Dalai Lama; Archbishop Emeritus of Southern Africa Desmond Tutu; and Douglas Carlton Abrams. The book chronicles a hard-won get together in 2015 to celebrate the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday.

The first thing that struck me about the authors was their deep, abiding friendship – the simple joy and love they found in each other’s company – though they have met in person infrequently.

The second thing that made an impact was the ideological connection between its diverse authors: a Tibetan Buddhist monk, an Anglican Church archbishop and a secular Jewish author.

Abrams says in the book, “It sounds a little like a joke – a Buddhist, a Christian, and Jew walk into a bar…”

There is no denying that the two main “characters” of this story have suffered great lows – exile from homeland, apartheid racial segregation, failing health – but they also have climbed to the greatest heights – both have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and are beloved around the world. Despite the circumstances of their lives, these two gentlemen are fundamentally joyful.

In the introduction, the authors offer an Invitation to Joy saying, “No dark fate determines the future. We do. Each day and each moment, we are able to create and re-create our lives and the very quality of human life on our planet. This is the power we wield.”

I have a friend who is undergoing chemotherapy as a preventive measure following a double mastectomy. She’s lost her hair. She’s sick for days after every treatment.

She’s in the middle of one of the busiest and most stressful times at her job. She’s trying to keep up with her responsibilities as a wife, mother, and daughter. And she is one of the happiest people I know.

It’s more than a positive attitude and putting on a brave face. She wields great power. Joy radiates from her.

Archbishop Tutu says in the book, “Joy is much bigger than happiness. While happiness is often seen as being dependent on external circumstances, joy is not.”

We strive to bring happiness through success at Danville Area Community College. We offer endless opportunities for students to create and recreate their lives.

The DACC Foundation will make hundreds of people happy when it distributes more than $650,000 of scholarship awards in the coming months. The deadline to submit foundation scholarship applications is March 9.

Here’s hoping that these moments of happiness contribute to satisfaction and joy for our students and their families!

Lara L. Conklin is director of marketing and college relations for Danville Area Community College. Contact her at (217) 443-8798.

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