The past 30 days have been marked with joy and sadness.
Over the past 30 days, I marked another year gone by since the untimely passing of my nephew Christopher, learned of a precious family in my hometown whose daughter had taken her life, heard about a special little ten-year old who, after being given a leukemia diagnosis, only lived seven more days, and I was deeply saddened by hearing that a beloved son of one of our city’s key pastor families was killed in a car accident. Sadness.
I have been struck by a deeper understanding of the brevity of life.
Over the past 30 days I celebrated a dear friend, thinking she would never have children of her own, delivering a beautiful baby girl, I have shared precious times with my parents, sisters, children and grandchildren, I have reconnected with family members I’ve not seen for many, many years, and one of my granddaughters started walking on her own. Joy.
Joy mixed with sadness.
Navigating joy alongside sadness is a daunting experience; grief alongside celebration, loss alongside new beginnings. How can we navigate the depth of emotions that flood our hearts when we lose loved ones and yet try to continue celebrating all that is good in our lives? After losing my nephew I found myself facing this challenge head on. I watched the world going on around me~ people out for coffee, shopping, walking their dogs and I wanted to scream “don’t you realize that the world has changed?? My loved one in gone, life as we know it simply cannot just “go on” !!!! ….and yet, life did go on.
What I have learned in my personal loss is that my loved one would want me to celebrate life, to go on living, to remember them well, and to remain grateful to have been a part of their life. I have learned to have greater appreciation for the relationships in my life and taking time to nurture them is a key priority for me. I have had to understand that sadness and blessing are both a part of life and that following Christ does not make me exempt. However, following Christ gives me comfort, strength, and hope.
Whenever we experience deep sadness and grief we will find ourselves appreciating times of joy, peace, and laughter so much more. The tendency to take people for granted changes, and our ability to bring comfort to others becomes incredibly authentic.
Our lives are a mix of joy and sadness, celebration and loss, laughter and tears. To journey this road well we all need a community of friends and family to link arms with us for both support and celebration. Having a faith in God knowing He cares (even if at the time we are wrought with unanswered questions) will help us navigate our losses from an eternal perspective. And choosing joy, choosing to celebrate what it good, and choosing to be diligent with the time we have remaining will re-ignite purpose amidst a season of loss.
Revelation 21:4 promises this: