Fruits of the Spirit: Sasami and the Two Joys

Last week, R86 kicked off the “Fruits of the Spirit” series here by talking about the first fruit, love, and how Honda Tohru of Fruits Baskets shines with that trait.  Today, I’ll be discussing a fruit that often connected with love, the second fruit: joy.

Joy is a vibrant word, not only because of it’s meaning, but because it looks and sounds, well, joyous.  I’ve heard it defined in a couple of different ways.  There’s the the first definition, the typical one of an overwhelming sense of happiness.  But there’s also a second definition, the Christian connotation that describes it as a lasting happiness that often comes with knowing Christ.  The idea is this – life is going to throw curveballs at us, but deep in a Christian’s heart is joy (I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart…) that comes with knowing that no matter what happens, God is unchanging.  The two definitions are connected; if one finds reliance on God’s grace, that person may exhibit great delight.

The idea of joy, like almost any other thought that can come from our minds, is found in anime.  It’s often young girls who exhibit this trait, which seems to go hand in hand with childlike innocence.  The first such character who came to mind when thinking about joy was Sasami, the young princess from Tenchi Muyo! and her own spin-off magical girl series.

Art by 岱武

Sasami is the unusually cheerful cook, cleaner, and waker-upper in the Masaki household after arriving there with her older sister, Ayeka.  She instantly bonds with Ryo-Ohki, who shares her innocence and energy.  Despite frustrating circumstances, Sasami almost always radiates joy.  Aside from Tenchi, she’s perhaps the only other character in the Tenchi universe who is liked by all the others.  She definitely exudes joy as given in the first.

But Sasami isn’t always happy.  During the course of both the original OVAs and the TV series, she at times becomes despondent.  Still, with the security of those who loved her, Sasami is able to return to her usual demeanor.  This reminds me of the second definition of joy, in which we can find God’s light in the darkness of events around us.  In Sasami, we see this beautiful collision of joys – an immense but temporary happiness and a lasting comfort.

Two weeks ago, I had this meeting of joys in my personal life.  It started off with a scary event – my three-year old took a nasty tumble, smashing his poor little mouth against the wooden foot of his bed, leading to blood, pain, bruising, swelling, loose teeth, cuts, and more.  The poor little guy was in so much pain, but was such a trooper.  About 24 hours after the incident, when he was going to bed, he gave his mom and I kisses.  I expected a little peck on the cheek, but he gave a full liplock.  His poor, thick, sensitive lips, covering a still-hurting mouth and gums, kissed my own as he gave a big smile that was almost unrecognizable to me on his swollen face.  My eyes welled up as I was hit by how much I loved him.  He’s my boy, now and forever, and I wanted to protect him with all my might, and be there to care for him, even when I’m unable to guard him from the storms of this life.

I felt the overwhelming joy of fatherhood and I’m sure my son felt the secure joy of his parents’ love.  When we come to know Christ, the Holy Spirit works in us.  A grumpy old man can display a joyous attitude; a young woman with trust issues can find happiness in trusting God.  The Holy Spirit transforms us.

Too often, Christians (myself included) don’t exhibit this joy in our lives, I think because either we don’t understand the depths of God’s grace or we forget it.  Perhaps it would sometimes help to look at the joyful Sasami, an alien who is most definitely not Christian (do Jurains have a religion?).  And anyway, doesn’t it just bring a smile to your face imaging that cute little girl singing “Down in My Heart”?

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart
Down in my heart!
Down in my heart!
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart
Down in my heart to stay

2 thoughts on “Fruits of the Spirit: Sasami and the Two Joys

  1. I definitely pray for continued joy. But I believe joy will come when I am able to fully accept what God has given me and not want more. This post made me feel joyful and I smiled as I read it. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the nice comment! 🙂

      I think you really hit on something there, too. Are we satisfied with just (!) God? I know I’m not, even if I want to be – even if I claim to be. But if one is at that point, how can that person not be joyous? Those are two goals that go hand in hand.

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