hope and joy in the midst of sadness



I listened, cradling phone to ear, trying to digest the news. A long-lost cousin had managed to track me down to say my uncle (her father) had passed away and the funeral was scheduled for the next day.

She had left it deliberately late to pass on the information, because she knew what a long journey it would be for me, and the strong likelihood of my being too unfit to travel – right on both counts.

When I came off the phone, having stayed calm in my concern for her and the rest of the family, I couldn’t help tears flowing freely when I related the news to my husband. He held me close as I cried.

My cousin had a year to adjust herself to the prospect of losing her father, fearing the worst many times over the last few months. But I had blissfully assumed he and his wife were still enjoying a fairly active retirement, pottering about in their beautiful garden, the joy of their lives.

Memories and sadness sat with me as the day slowly unwound. I went out into the garden for a breath of air and a brief time of prayer. God always meets with and speaks to me most through creation.

With eyes downcast, I was well placed to spot a feather flying with the wind. I snapped a few photos, hoping to capture those moments when ground was its mattress. And this is what emerged…

As a white flag

Spotting a white feather on the ground

is often seen as a sign of God saying

‘I do not forget’ as he gently whispers

his balm to our broken hearts


When I stepped outside for a while,

needing air to breathe as I assimilated

news of a relative’s demise, feeling low

and aching inside with sad hollowness,


before long I spied this feathery

friend beckoning me as wind tossed her

hither and thither, and I shivered

in an autumnal breeze, hugging myself


with folded arms to ward off the cold

It felt like God was speaking soft into

my emptiness, reminding me how much


heaven aches in sympathy with us

And how his bright light feathers down

sometimes, as white flag lying on the ground


“For his anger is but for a moment; his favour is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning” ~ Psalm 30:5 NRSV

What is the joy we have in the morning? I believe it’s realising we are accompanied in our sadness and sorrow. There is no experience we go through which is out of the reach of God’s love and compassion.

God holds out a flame of hope in painful circumstances, a balm of peace and calm. He brings unexpected joy and strength back to hurting hearts. He is the lifter of our head, Comforter for wounded souls.

Getting through grief can be painful and lengthy, especially when we lose close loved ones. Scripture reassures us that  joy will return, difficult as it is to believe when we’re grieving. We will have days where we can see light breaking through, sense God’s comforting presence, as we gradually begin to smile and laugh again.

As I mourn my uncle’s passing, I think about how we often take life for granted. May I suggest you hug your loved ones closer today, appreciate their presence in your life?




Welcome to #day14 of #write31days of journeying into joy. You can access #day13 over at wordsofjoy.me where I am sharing a few posts in this series. To catch my reflection on beauty and butterflies, please click here... How have you experienced hope or joy in the midst of life’s painful circumstances? Please share in the comments below, so we can pray for one another.

21 thoughts on “hope and joy in the midst of sadness

  1. Dear Joy, I am so sorry for your loss this week. Please know that you are much in my prayers, as you grieve both the passing of your uncle and the inability to travel to be with the family. What a precious balm that God sent your way through the gift of the beautiful feather. But I am grateful that HE has given you eyes to see those grace-gifts that He sends your way. Many of us might have missed that moment; thank you for seeing and sharing the Hope with us. –Long Distance Hugs to you my friend.

    • Dear Bettie, your kind compassion and loving prayers are greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for your gift of reaching out, listening and being keenly perceptive. I don’t think you miss much at all. Long distance grateful hugs coming your way, sweet friend. xo ❤

  2. I’m so sorry for your loss, Joy. So thankful our God is holding you through this. This line especially resonated today: “What is the joy we have in the morning? I believe it’s realising we are accompanied in our sadness and sorrow.” His Presence is so so precious. Hugs from afar.

    • Anna, when we feel weary, wretched, lost or alone then it is so comforting to just let God hold us through the storm, allow His balm to ease the pain and His covering love to bring the solace that we seek. I thank God for friends like you. xo

    • Laurie, it’s a marvel how God whispers soft when trying to catch our attention, reminding us of His continual presence. There’s no shouting or screaming when we fall, fail or falter, only endless compassion, mercy and grace. The aching void we have inside when loved ones depart reveals our deep desire to be reunited with them finally in time to come, a time when eyes will be dried and joy will be magnified beyond all expectation. Thank you for being here. I treasure your thoughtful presence and prayers. xo

    • Michael, your kindness leaves me speechless. You’re a gift of a brother to me, my friend. Thank you seems too small to say how much I appreciate your support, prayers and encouragement. God bless you as you shine a light for Him. ❤

  3. I’m so sorry for your loss, Joy. It makes it even harder when health limitations prevent you from being with the family. I love the message of the feather that God does not forget us and continues to pour His balm into our broken hearts. I love also the butterfly post over at Words of Joy. You still give us such encouragement even in the midst of grief. Thank you! Have a peaceful, rest-filled weekend! Hugs!

    • Trudy, thank you for understanding how frustrating it is to have physical limitations affecting how we live. You know how it feels to be flattened by health problems and afflicted by life’s traumas, yet you also pour out hope to other broken, wounded souls. I receive a fresh infusion of encouragement whenever I read your words. Sorry I’m missing them a bit at the moment. These days of writing more frequently are delightful in their creative productivity but draining in the demands they make! Thank you for being here and for your loving encouragement. May you have “a peaceful, rest-filled weekend” as well. Blessings and hugs! xo ❤

  4. Dear Joy
    I am sorry for the grief you are feeling after the loss of your dear uncle. It has been 5 years that I have grieved the loss of my precious 21 year old daughter. I sit most days with aching heart missing all that was her. My only comfort is the hope that one day I may see her again. You write beautifully Joy. You have a wonderful gift. ❤⚘

    • Hi Julie. Thank you so much for stopping by to read and leave a comment. It’s lovely to meet you. I am truly sorry for your loss. Losing a child at whatever age is a horrendous thing for parents to have to go through, because it goes against all human expectations. I’m not surprised to hear how much your heart aches still; there will always be a space no-one else can fill, a gap in your future as well as the present. May God give you all the comfort you need as you hold on to the hope of being reunited again. I’ll be praying for you, friend. Do drop by again. You are very welcome here. ❤

  5. I’m so grateful for your beautiful comfort Joy! So sorry for the loss of your Uncle. May our Father’s comfort continue to flow in you as it flows like rivers through you.
    “Spotting a white feather on the ground

    is often seen as a sign of God saying

    ‘I do not forget’ as he gently whispers

    his balm to our broken hearts”

    • Jenneth, I am holding on to your lovely words: “May our Father’s comfort flow in you as it flows like rivers through you.” For we receive and we return; we give and bless others with the abundance God gives us. I see beauty, hope and comfort threaded through your own beautiful poetry. May God lift, inspire and sustain you as you write each day. Blessed you are here, my friend. xo

  6. Pingback: how joy coexists with sadness | Poetry Joy

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