Friday, March 29, 2019

Tearfully Sowing, Reaping Joy

"Those who sow in tears will reap with cries of joy." (Ps 126:5). 

This is really the only way I can look at the past several days-really the month as a whole-and make sense of things. We have an incredibly good, loving, merciful God-and knowing that he is with us, caring for us-we can live with thanksgiving in the midst of sorrow. We can embrace deep joy (as opposed to mere happiness) in the midst of hardship. We can find our lives overwhelmed with his peace. 

When people have asked me lately "How are you doing?"  my automatic response has been something along the lines of I'm doing really, really well. But a man from church just died unexpectedly, so that's been hard/sad. And other friends have been going through difficult things that are weighing on my heart. There have been some awful things this month. But otherwise, I'm great!

Joy and sorrow, mingling. Maybe it's just my temperament, that once I get in a good cry or talk with my husband about the hard things, I'm able to take a deep breath and rejoice in the good things that are happening. Is it odd to be in a good mood when so many terrible things have happened, when so many people are deep in grief? 

Joy and sorrow, life and death. Just a few days ago, on the solemnity of the Annunciation-when we celebrate Christ entering the womb of Mary (see Lk 1:26-38)-I watched them bring the casket down the aisle. He had been in his forties, and full of life and joy. When he brought his kids into church or the church hall while his wife sang with the choir, he never failed to give us a big smile and ask us how we were doing. Even though he and his wife always seemed to have lots on their plate with work and parenting, they still came to gatherings, came to our son's Baptism, even organized events at church. He will be deeply missed by our parish. 

When death hits a community, there's sorrow. When a woman with three young children unexpectedly becomes a widow, there's disbelief. 

But God is good, my friends. As cheesy or cliché as it is to say it, each day is a gift. There have been some really sad things this month, but I am also overwhelmed with gratitude for so many things: 
The gentle spring sunshine, and the soft rain that nurtures the zinnia seeds we just planted. 
Loaves of homemade bread, warm and crusty, slathered with butter and jam. 
Watching fish swim in a pool on our neighbor's back patio. 
Welcoming a dear friend from out-of-state as a guest (and naturally taking her to our library, because I'm the kind of person whose idea of "let me show you the cool place where I live!" means "let's go hang out at the library.")
Pretending to be adventurous mice as we engage in a roleplaying game with friends. 
Wonderful friends who carve time out of the day to catch up and chat in-person or over the phone. 
Our wonderful pastor, who came over to bless our house and made the time to also eat dinner and hang out with us. 
The sounds of birds singing and chattering that fills our ears when we walk to different places. 

I didn't anticipate all the things that came this month, and I have no idea what the rest of Lent will hold. But it's best that I don't know. While I can't imagine the sorrows that will continue to come throughout the rest of my life, I also can't comprehend the immense ways that God will continue to bless us. 

Jesus, I trust in you. 

P.S. Please send up a prayer for the man who died and his family who is left grieving. Thank you so much :) 

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