Weariness & Joy
Before my dad’s sudden death 5 years ago, I had compartmentalized my emotions. I didn’t know it then, but looking back I believed that grief and joy couldn’t be experienced together. They are at opposite ends of the spectrum, you can’t feel both at the same time.
Over the years – first with grieving my dad and then learning to live without him and more recently stumbling through a broken marriage and a chronic health condition – I’ve learned that weariness and joy are wonderful companions to invite to the same party. They are most enjoyed together.
I’m using the term weariness in place of grief because I’ve learned that, for me, after an emotionally challenging event, weariness is the long-term emotion I carry from it. Presently, I believe our country is dealing with a deep weariness due, in part, to political divisiveness, racism, and injustice. If we don’t recognize the weariness, we can stop pursuing right action. If we don’t recognize the joy, we can drown in the despair of reality.
It’s like having friends you are close to but they don’t know each other. Those first couple of times hanging out together can be awkward but the potential reward of having these two people become friends is huge. Being able to spend time with people who know and love you deeply is a gift, different people know different parts of us. If we bring them together, we can be more deeply known and loved. With each passing year, I feel this more and more. I don’t need to separate my friendships. I love watching friends from different areas of my life interact and become friends.
I feel this same way about my relationship with weariness and joy. They are most enjoyed together.
Weariness gives joy a greater depth.
Joy gives weariness a fresh hope.
I had been separating these two friends my whole life thinking they wouldn’t get along. But I have experienced more fullness in life in welcoming them to the same table.