I hate the way tragedy interjects it’s self. I have a good song streaming, some funny banter among friends going, browsing over some Facebook, and BAM!!! Someone has shared a post about a young girl dying from cancer. Someone is talking about the reality of sex trafficking in the US. Someone else is sharing about the separation facing them and their spouse. It catches me off guard and I end up feeling a mixture of guilt and sadness. Guilt that I was enjoying my morning, that I have a cup of coffee, that I can smile at the crazy antics of my two year old boy. Sadness because these things are weighty issues and I cannot offer a solution.
It doesn’t feel right to have space for happiness when these heavy things are brought into our awareness. I get that life is full of sorrow and joy. To everything there is a season (turn, turn, turn), but it feels so dismissive of the heaviness to read about it on my computer screen, then share in my family’s laughter (over something unrelated… but still). It just feels so… disjointed. Out of step. It seems to kill the joy and disrespect the sorrow. Heavy and light do not share the same chest space easily.
Still, they are both a part of our everyday world, even when we notice one more than the other. These opposites exist side by side. They weave the patterns of our shared days. I think that the connectedness that is now a part of our culture highlights the dark and light as coexisting in ways that we easily overlooked before. The internet and social media have made it possible to live stream our lives. The sorrows and the joys, the tragic and the triumphs, the heavy and the light… these are all shown to be what they really are: the building blocks of our hours and days, our seasons, our lives.
The question then comes: what kind of life am I building?
If I want a whole life, a rich life, a robust and full life of meaning, I have to embrace the sickness with the dancing, the sorrow with the the joy. Otherwise, I am left with a flat life. When I say these are the building blocks of life I mean that if I want to build a life that is more than just passing in the wind, I need to accept that joy and sorrow happen at the same time.
When heaviness and joy are intermingled, it’s much like oil and water, much like dusk and dawn, when day and night blur. Something beautiful and captivating can be born from this collision. Something real and human comes from this. The heavy is not an intrusion on our wonderful lives, and the joy is not an earned respite from the hardship of our days. Both light and dark, joy and sorrow, heavy and happy… these are all just there. They are the reality of our life.
They question I have to wrestle with is not how can I be happy. The better question is what can I make with these blocks, in this dusk and dawn? What beauty can I display? What hope can I believe and share with the others in my life?
The heavy will always be there; there will always be a chance for laughter. The reality of the of the space these two things share within my chest paves the way for one of the most beautiful things in the cosmos: redemption and hope.