Tuesday, December 28, 2010

When Sorrow and Joy Collide

It's been awhile.

Several books/movies/facebook notes (Sarah Albinson!)/my own life and experiences have got me thinking...

Life is more meaningful through trials--whether that be pain, sacrifice, risk, danger, illness...anything that you have to OVERCOME. Anything that we have to fight for, or fight through. Think about it. Evidence of this is everywhere. Guys want to be able to fight, in some way, for a girl. The joy of life is found to a greater degree when battling a life-threatening illness. My own gratefulness for my life and realization that God is truly my protector resulted from my recent car accident. And I have found that in my darkest times, through heartbreak and grief and pain and feeling overwhelmed, that I am able to worship God at a whole new level. My tears of anguish mix with tears of praise and hope and this immense joy that can only come from the Spirit. And for me, when I feel emotion, I often find meaning. I find a connection to my soul, that has the imprint of my Creator. He knows me intimately and can see and hear every tear I cry and every smile and laugh and pitter patter of my heart. How could someone, something, create me to do those things, to feel those things? And then for us to have the capacity to have those emotions intertwine just amazes me. We can experience sadness mixed with joy, pain and hurt with hope, anger with love...isn't it beautiful? Doesn't the sadness make the joy seem to overflow? Don't hurt and pain make hope brighter? Don't feelings of anger make the power of love stronger?

I think that's why Jesus's life, His story, is so meaningful...so beautiful. He had to overcome trials throughout his life, and then the ultimate trial--His sacrifice. And through this, he gave meaning to our lives! We sing about His death on the cross in both sorrow and joy. It is a mix of emotions that makes our heart stir and yearn and cry out. He DIED for our sake. For humanity in its entirety! And now we have freedom and joy and hope and peace in knowing that the Lord is with us and we do not have to fear for Jesus has OVERCOME the world. Whoa, what do you know, there's that word again. : )

This is all so counter-cultural.

Our society has a tendency to run away from any sort of calamity. We take pain killers; we run to the doctor to give us a quick fix for whatever is ailing us; we think we are messed up if it takes us longer than a couple weeks or months to get over an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend so we run to a therapist to see what's wrong with us and if they can give us some magic words that will heal us; guys sleep with the girls that are easy and then leave and the girls are left wondering what's wrong with them; we run to stores to buy things to cure our depression or feeling of emptiness...I could go on!

What if we embraced the fact that we are NOT abnormal for feeling these so-called "bad" feelings? What if they really aren't "bad" feelings at all? "Good" and "bad" are relative terms... What I think is, all these emotions that we have are emotions that God Himself has, and they are good. They are necessary. We must face these emotions that we deem negative and wrestle with them, pray through them, surround ourselves with friends and family that will speak truth and love into our lives. And we must seek out love, faith, hope, peace, joy, kindness, goodness...(I have almost completed the fruits of the Spirit so I might as well finish right? :) ) faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, patience...THROUGH these emotions that leave us down-trodden. There, we can find real healing. We can begin to find meaning to this crazy existence. We can be more like Christ, and therefore have a better understanding of His life and the meaning of His story in our own stories that we are creating.

So, what if we were more courageous?
We didn't run away from trouble?
We didn't hide?
We didn't take the easy way out?
We didn't make light of our hurting?
We allowed our heart to truly open up to the great Healer?
We allowed our heart to truly open up to the people around us?

What if....