Monday, April 17, 2023

Dean Powery's Final Column This Semester: 'Joy on the Journey'

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In his final column of the semester for the (Duke) Chronicle, Chapel Dean Luke A. Powery looks ahead to graduation and back to the recent Easter Day celebrations and finds a theme—the mixture of joy and fear.

"This combination may seem odd, but the journey of life is odd," Dean Powery writes. "And maybe this is how it should be, for fear and joy aren’t always strangers—like when we fall in love or are expecting a baby or are about to enroll in a new graduate program in an unfamiliar state or country."

"The presence of fear with joy shows how joy is different from happiness," he says. "Happiness tends to be triggered by pleasurable external circumstances and is fleeting.... Joy, on the other hand, is deeper than that, below the surface. In the face of the loss of a loved one or a bad health diagnosis or uncertainty about the future, you can still have joy. Joy is not based on your circumstances; joy is a gift."

"So as another academic year ends, you may have great joy from your educational accomplishments, the friendships you have developed, and the memories you have made at Duke," he says. "And, you may also sense fear rising when you look to the future and wonder if you’ll land the right internship, if some relationships will last, and what kind of world you are entering when so many news headlines are bleak. This is part of life’s journey. It won’t always be happy, but may it be one of great joy."

Read the column.