interlinked: how mourning and joy are closer than we think

interlinked - how mourning and joy are closer than we think - girl dancing in sunlight

“For everything there is a season. . . . a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” — Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4 NRSV


We mourn,
thinking we might never
rediscover joy, never
laugh or dance again,

but we are wrong
because they are all
interlinked, entwined

parts of one another,
shared segments
of our soul’s deepest needs.

While we weep
we also prepare
to dance, to feast,

although it doesn’t
necessarily cross our minds
that one could follow on,
like day follows night,

or be the shadow of the other
as we try to hold these
disparate thoughts together.

Even here,
even now, when grief needs
closure, there are glimmers,

conjoined glimpses of hope
which support and enable
us to look up,

to go on with courage,
because a slight lifting
of lockdown might signal
a slow return to peace.
(C) joylenton

interlinked - woman watching the waves - poem excerpt (C) joylenton

Once we return to a semblance of normality in our nations, our “ordinary” might feel scarily different but it will have a fresh lustre and glow of grace about it too. Because we are limited in what we can do now, we appreciate the joyful, sacrosanct and sacred moments that exist and long to keep them fixed in our hearts.

“Mourning and dancing, grief and laughter, sadness and gladness—they belong together as the sad-faced clown and the happy-faced clown, who make us both cry and laugh. Let’s trust that the beauty of our lives becomes visible where mourning and dancing touch each other.” — Henri Nouwen, in Faith That Matters: 365 Devotions from Classic Christian Leaders

Maybe we will dance in our hearts or gardens, if not in the streets. Like a butterfly being joyfully released to fly freely, instead of being restrained and shut away, confined to a limited environment, mourning the freedom it has lost.

A lingering sadness and wariness will exist because so much has changed, so many lives have been cut painfully short, so many of us are in a prolonged recovery mode. We will need faith and trust to carry us through the days of difference that lie ahead.

“I have told you all this so that you will have peace of heart and mind. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world.” — John 16:33 TLB

Where are you seeing glimpses of joy during these unsettled times? What makes your heart sing or helps keep you comforted and calm? 🙂 ❤

8 thoughts on “interlinked: how mourning and joy are closer than we think

  1. Good morning, Joy, I just looked up the word ‘sacrosanct’. Thank you for teaching me a new word, and so fitting for what you describe here. In the wake of the murder of a young back man by two white police officers inciting riots and protests, I mourn. Will we dance in those same streets where some are murdered, Lord? For with You, all things are made beautiful. Thank you so much Joy for continuing to pour out words of encouragement during this season. Please, when you get a moment, let me know if you received your medicine this past Tuesday. Love in Christ, Julie

    • Good afternoon, Julie. I’m just like you in needing to check out a new-to-me word. The only problem is I’m not so good at remembering them as I used to be! The terrible incident you describe appals us too. Mourning is understandable and fitting in these circumstances. I’m so glad you were encouraged here, my friend. You have encouraged me greatly with your prayers. Right on time my meds arrived on Tuesday morning and I gave a huge sigh of relief and grateful thanks to God! Bless you for being an active participant in this wonderful answer to prayer. Love and hugs! xo ❤️

      • Julie, I am so thankful for this timely answer to prayer! It might be a bit 11th hour as far as running out of my medication was concerned, but perfect timing from God nevertheless. I’m grateful for your prayers and more than happy to receive a new hug from across the pond as well as you rejoice with me! xo 😊💕

  2. Thank you, Joy. I needed this. It’s a tough time knowing how many have died from Covid. Like Julie, racism and the unnecessary death of a young black man also deeply grieves me. Yes, then it is hard to dance… “A lingering sadness and wariness will exist because so much has changed, so many lives have been cut painfully short, so many of us are in a prolonged recovery mode. We will need faith and trust to carry us through the days of difference that lie ahead.” Oh, so true, my friend. I’m so grateful Jesus has overcome the world! May He lift us and carry us through! Love and blessings to you!

    • Yes, these are dark and pain-filled days we are living in. There’s so much happening that upsets, shocks and disturbs our souls. Peace can be hard to find and dancing and joy feel like a distant dream. Yet they are closer than we might imagine. God has a wonderful way of turning our sadness and grief into joy and our discouraged hearts can learn to trust and dance again even in the rain. Trudy, I am grateful if you have been encouraged here, my friend. And truly thankful for knowing that Jesus has already overcome the world and deprived it of power to harm us beyond His ability to rescue and restore. Amen to this: “May “He lift us and carry us through!” Blessings and love to you and prayers for healing, rest and recovery during your break. xo 😊💜

  3. Dear Joy,
    Thank you for this beautiful poem that touched my heart so deeply. It is so true that every kind of mourning is entwined with the joy of our Lord, because HE is the One for whom our soul is truly longing. You have captured so well the heaviness in our hearts as we are mourning. Some close friends of mine live in the city where the rioting is happening. In fact it’s the city where all 3 of our children were born, and where much knitting of my heart is held. So, yes, my heart is grieving, and longing for the restoration that only Jesus can truly bring. May we lift our hearts in prayer for His own peace and joy to come to hearts who have been so wounded. Sending so much love and hugs to you tonight, dear friend. xoxo

    • Dear Bettie, oh how hard this loss, this dreadful incident must have touched your heart because of your personal links to the area where rioting has taken place! I think the world is already in a state of mourning and grief due to covid-19, and this has greatly intensified our soul heaviness.

      Yes, may “the restoration that only Jesus can truly bring” come swiftly as we cry out, lament and pray for all wounded hearts and broken lives to be restored by His grace. Then we really will have reason to rejoice and dance again! Much love and hugs to you, too, as you rest and recover from the preparatory injection prior to the nerve ablation. May God hold you tenderly close and bring the comfort only He can give to weary, burdened bodies and souls. xoxo 💟🙏🏻🌺

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