From Grief to Joy

The phone call came only a week after my last conversation with him.  The familiar voice of another family member got straight to the point, not leaving a moment to suggest all was okay and right with our family’s world.  It was a kind thing to do, not leading me on…yet thrusting me all the same into a torrent of emotion that sparked something guttural inside. The voice of grief rang out in tones that even the deaf could identify with.  Gruesome in its entrance, its exit will never take place.  

Two feelings overwhelmed me within.  Deep sorrow and joy.  Two words that have no comparison yet share a connection.  Two words spelling out emotions that don’t coincide in the world we live in.  But married, these two words help us survive.  Survival is key in a world that feels as if it is falling apart.  

Fetal position, gut wrenching, tears flooding…

Dry eyes, stillness of body, unbelief…

Squeezed out teardrops, low cries, utterance of words…

Zombie-like living, shut down, on auto-pilot…

Anger rising, questions for God, disbelief…

Torrent of tears, rushing emotion, sobbing…

Shell of self, hollow, wishing and what-ifs…

Memories in mind, sweeping of a half-smile, a heart full…

Energy renewed, strength built up, pursue forward…

Aching tears, tears of laughter, tears of the new reality…

Smiles for what once was, sadness of soul for what now is, and hope for the future…

When darkness floods, light always overcomes.

Light pierces the darkness and shines brighter than before as its illumination fills the empty void. 

Joy overtakes the shadows and allows us to live again.  

Pieces of our hearts lie shattered but not broken.  But, God.  His mighty hand of comfort sweeps over the cracks and fills the valleys of brokenness, smoothing it down to create calmness as His joy fills our souls.  His light overcomes the grief.

In the middle of this moment we dared not wish but that somehow still came flooding into existence, we find ourselves in a new normal.  Until, of course, that new normal becomes rocked with an ever-increasing shadow of pain when the next phone call comes…

The next diagnosis.  

The next door slamming. 

The next disappointment. 

The next… the next… the next…

We are not spared grief.  In fact, it is everywhere around us, in us, upon us.  It tries to feel grander than we should allow it, and yet it is only one facet of the equation.  

It comes and it goes.  It ebbs and it flows.  Twisted in its waters are different emotions weaving in and out of the waves…

Happiness.

Laughter.

Serenity.

Quietness.

Joy. 

These feelings tend to visit instead of stay, but as they linger we bask in their goodness.  Joy is the one that precedes them all.  

Abiding in Christ produces a rich relationship that strings joy throughout the unending emotional tide of grief, giving us a landing place in the storm.  It is a firm foundation that offers shelter and becomes a necessary place of refuge.  

The overwhelming face of fear riding this rollercoaster of emotion can be halted with just that one gift: JOY.  Joy is a gift that the LORD keeps on giving despite the current circumstance and despite the feelings seemingly swallowing us whole.  It can be experienced even in the midst of raw emotion- grief.  And it can show out, IF we allow it!

CHOOSE JOY!

“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” -Psalm 126:5 ESV

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