The Joy and Sadness of New Seasons

It’s been an interesting season of change for us, and it’s hard not to be excited about so many of the new things coming our way.  We’ll be welcoming a new son, entering a new ministry endeavor, and breaking in a new year.

But with all the joy that comes from fresh, new possibilities, there’s also the tinge of sadness as we realize that things won’t ever be the same.

For example, with the pending birth of our son, we’ve been traveling a lot more than we’re accustomed to, cashing in on free miles and discounted housing at desired destinations.  Even though I dislike traveling, it’s been really wonderful to visit places I’ve never been before or drop in on family for a few days.

I realize we will never have a season like this again, and there’s a grief that comes with that fact.

That same dynamic of intermingled joy and sadness was present when I got married too.  Don’t get me wrong, the joy was as deep and wide as it had ever been, but my life as a single person was over, and that meant I could no longer watch 9 hours straight of college football on Saturdays.  Well, I could, but I wouldn’t have as healthy a marriage.

“The only constant is change,” I’ve heard it said, and if change is ever with us then so is the reality of a variegated emotional world.  The key to managing it all is to accept each emotion as a gift, a way of drawing more deeply into the richness of all that God has for us here and now – and into the future.

I believe that richness is spelled out as contentment and gratefulness, both of which have made my heart gladder than it’s been in quite some time.

“A quiet spirit is one in which all of those mixed emotions are sorted out, understood, shared with trusted friends, and submitted to a spirit of contentment. The butterflies in our stomachs don’t die; we just teach them to fly in formation.”

Karen Lee-Thorp and Cynthia Hicks in Why Beauty Matters

And lastly, a quote, taken from my good friend Mike Park‘s facebook wall:

“Wherever I find joy, my own or other people’s, it always seems to be mingled with pain. And I find that the people I most respect are people who know the link between joy and pain. And I have found that if we will own pain and weep over it together, we also find Christ’s overflowing comfort.”

– John Goldingay

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10 responses to “The Joy and Sadness of New Seasons

  1. Congrats on having a boy, Drew & Tina!!! We’re so excited for you guys as you enter parenthood! And don’t worry, you’ll still be able to travel…just a little differently. =) Maybe slower. With lots of stops… For diaper changes. And Feedings. Okay, a lot slower. But still, very doable =) We look forward to meeting your little guy!

  2. And I hear you’ll be carrying a lot more baggage with you where ever you go. A LOT… just saying. 😉

    Otherwise, a beautiful post. I think with some asians, finding the link between joy and pain is instinctual. Actually, finding pain in joy is pretty much bred in us. It’s the finding the joy in pain that less common. I’m still growing in remembering to do that all the time.

    Thank you, as always, for sharing such rich thoughts with us.

  3. Beautiful post… and comforting in a strange way.

    There’s so much I want to say, but I don’t think I have it in me right now, seeing as how it’s 1:30AM… so I’ll just say this: thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. They make an impact, you know…

    Oh and I’m not sure if I said this, but congrats to you and Tina… I’m really excited for you guys! And also definitely missing you.

  4. I hear you, drew. I think you articulated it better than I ever could!

    I’ve been grieving the end of my single life even though I’m super duper excited about getting married. Then I started to feel “bad” about those feelings, but Cate reminded me that it was ok and natural to feel that way.

    But we look on with gratitude and excitement for what is to come. 🙂 Can’t wait to meet your little one!

    • yeah, definitely natural. with all that said, i’m so happy to be married. i’m the type who’s much better married than single (i think). others, believe it or not, are built better to be single.

  5. Life is like that. It is full of deaths. Some make us stronger. Some resurrect in more beautiful ways. It is easy to get bogged down into what might have been, or in what we’ve lost. But, sometimes, it is in the letting go that we find a full abundance. (I have to preach this to myself.) I think marriage and children make life much bigger. I am not married yet, nor do I have kids. But, I do know from teaching, that the very fact that I teach children enlivens my world. Kids may frustrate me beyond belief some days, but what they give me is a greater awareness of the world around me. They make it deeper and more varied than I would have found had I chosen another job without such interactions. Likewise, having stopped to invest more time in a friend than in going out with different groups of people, has helped me to become a better me. There are nuances and layers that I have discovered in my friend that I would not have seen otherwise. We have a closeness that gives me far more joy than showing up at the annual Superbowl party and having my team win. Sometimes, I feel like I miss out on life. But, then, I have to ask myself, what is that life which I think I am missing out on. Could it be that I am living it and just not noticing?

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