I Choose Joy

Even as the cardinals flit from tree to tree outside and the day begins as usual, my heart is heavy.  I have been surrounded by sorrow and loss lately.  In November my cousin took his own life.  I marked the 5 year anniversary of my dad's passing on March 15th.  I received word on Friday that the sister of a friend died unexpectedly at the age of 36 and on the very next day my aunt passed away.

With so many close to me leaving this earth, one of the questions I ask is why?  Why him? Why this way? Why her?  Why now?  I don't really expect an answer to those questions because they are not my answers to know.  I think in my grief, why is the first question that arises out of my sorrow.

I took the book, A Grace Disquised by Jerry Sittser off the shelf again and opened it where I left off five years ago.  This paragraph stood out.  Thornton Wilder suggests in "The Eighth Day" that we should understand our lives as a great landscape that extends far beyond what the eye of our experience can see.  Who knows how one experience, so singularly horrible, can set in motion a chain of events that will bless future generations?  Loss may appear to be random, but that does not mean it is.  It may fit into a scheme that surpasses even what our imaginations dare to think.

Jerry also says that if you let it, your sorrow will increase your capacity to live well, to love life, and to experience joy, not after the darkness but even in the midst of it.

So today, I am making the choice to let my sorrow increase my capacity to live well, love life and experience joy in the midst of it all.  When the why questions come to steal my joy and harden my heart I will remember that a heart of stone only sinks further into darkness.  When the memories surprise me, I will linger in their warm embrace.  When the waves of grief overtake me, I will choose to let the tears wash my soul.

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