One of my favorite words has always been “bliss.” I’ve been thinking about it lately, about what my definition of it is… How I personally interpret it. :) I was talking to a friend about it a few months ago, and we both attempted to give our definition of the word. At the exact same time (it was an online conversation) we both said these things.
Me: “I love how it doesn’t mean just happiness… but it’s a sort of happiness that realizes its own reality without finding itself in an imaginary world.”
Her: “It’s more of something you experience because you’ve experienced pain, suffering, hurt. happiness is just happy… but bliss is perfect joy even with the realization of all that is in reality.”
After discussing it, we found that we had the same understanding of bliss. I love her description of it.. I’ve looked it up in the dictionary, and it only says that it’s associated with happiness. But to me, happiness and bliss seem very different. As she said: “happiness is just happy…” Bliss seems like the deep, inner joy after pain or disappointment, or even in the midst of sorrow. I was talking to my sister. She said: “It’s like God couldn’t be gracious if he didn’t have another side. Bliss wouldn’t bliss unless you had experienced something painful.”
And this spurred on yet another thought. Most of my sorrows are the process of growth in Christ. It is him molding me and making me… Like the potter and the clay. Sometimes it’s extremely painful. Sometimes I get hurt, but in the bottom of my soul – there it is! Joy. Bliss. The bliss that I am growing in Christ. The thought that through this pain, this sorrow—in fact, through this sanctification, I am becoming more like Christ. It’s the road of holiness. It may be painful, but then I think of Edmund in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, when Aslan tears off his dragon scales. It hurts very deeply, but there was also a pleasure “like the feeling when you tear off a scar.” Edmund was thrown into the pool, and it smarted at first, but then he saw that he had been turned into a boy again. That’s what I mean when I say bliss. I think of Edmund in the pool, with the smart of his still burning skin, but then the glorious feeling after the hurt. It’s as though bliss is a healing of pain.
That is what I am thinking about. Bliss is on my mind. The deep inner joy that sometimes doesn’t show itself until after the hurt.
I cannot describe to you what an utterly glorious feeling it gives me to think on that word, and to think of Edmund, and to know and be assured that God does the same with me. I feel humbled. When I look back on the sorrow, on the pain… when I experience the bliss, it reveals to me how much molding I really need… how the dragon scales are still on my skin. O, how I long to have them torn off! But it is in the process… And one day I will be clean of them forever. That thought is blissful. The pain is present because I’m still sinful, but there is joy because I am not a slave to sin. I am not in bondage to it. And O, what a glorious thought! I wish I could describe the feeling it gives. I wish I could express it, but it’s inexpressible. I can hardly comprehend it. That is how I experience bliss. It’s the only word I can think of to describe this feeling. I’m not saying that bliss is only used in this context, but I’m just giving an example on the things that lead to that kind of feeling as I experience it.
What do you think about bliss? I feel like I know very little, I am going mostly by feeling and ideas, and I would love to hear what everybody else says. :)