A Mysterious Capacity…

 In Reflections

“…joy unites us to one another. Joy doesn’t obliterate grief. Grief doesn’t just vanish because joy comes. Instead, joy has a mysterious capacity to be felt alongside sorrow and even—sometimes most especially—in the midst of suffering.” —Angela Williams Gorrell

Last week Pastor Brad Highum from Abiding Love Lutheran Church and I spoke about our upcoming event in October with Rev. Dr. Angela Williams Gorrell and her powerful experience with the capacity of joy to help us out of the depths of despair.

Eager for our day with her, Pastor Brad reinforced the need for each of us to connect with a joy so big it can hold our grief and more in these stressful times.

I’ve thought about this idea of a joy big enough to hold my despair, as I hear about and see images of the devastation in Lahaina, on Maui, a place I love. And then I hear about another person killed in an accident, and read about another traumatic event, and… There is no lack of reasons to justifiably wallow in despair. And yet… another morning of hearing a bird sing, learning of successful surgeries of the loved ones of friends, and reading about all those stepping up to help strangers move forward from unimaginable devastation fills me with joy.

These glimpses of joy, however brief, can halt the spiral downward, shift our focus, and remind us of the beauty and love ever ready to help us. All without asking us to ignore or let go of our grief. Joy just wants to come along with us on what sometimes feels like a harrowing journey through life.

What is a source of joy for you? How can you tap into the mysterious capacity of joy today, no matter how much you’re grieving or hurting? It turns out it’s not an either/or choice. How beautiful and powerful an awareness to walk forward with.

May the fierce, healing power of joy find you today.

Joy Has Grit

“…joy isn’t simple and it’s not always easy―at least not in those times when we feel its need most acutely. It turns out that joy has grit. It isn’t fluffy or ephemeral. Joy is what we feel deep in our bones when we realize and feel connected to what is good, beautiful, meaningful.”
―Angela Williams Gorrell

Leaning On the Heart of God

“I am leaning on the heart of God.
I am resting there in silence.
All the turmoil that exhausts me
is brought to bear on this great love.”

―Joyce Rupp (first stanza)

Primary Wonder

Days pass when I forget the mystery.
Problems insoluable and problems offering
their own ignored solutions
jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechaber
along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing
their colored clothes; cap and bells.
And then
once more the quiet mystery
is present to me, the throng’s clamor
recedes: the mystery
that there is anything, anything at all,
let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything,
rather than void: and that, O Lord,
Creator, Hallowed One, You still,
hour by hour, sustain it.

—Denise Levertov, Sands of the Well (Link takes you to Good Reads)

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