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