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? 🙂 ❤

A Man for all seasons

advent- light of the world PJ

It’s that time of year again when a lot of us become overly distracted, caught up in a browsing/buying/bingeing frenzy even as we want to still our souls and focus most on the presence of the Light of the world within.

Some just want to disappear, pull the duvet over their head until it’s all over and life can get back to normal, please.

Each season brings its own charm and challenges, doesn’t it?

I love slowing down to have a deeper appreciation of Advent. Maybe you do too.

It’s a waiting, watching and wondering period of remembering how and why our Saviour came to earth.

Becoming a tiny babe in a earthly frame at the start of an arduous journey toward the cross.

His sole purpose was to hold out loving arms willing to die for us, to bear the burden of sin we carry within.

I can’t help but think how crazy-busy, sad and mixed up this season can be. Many are in physical or emotional pain, desperate, dying on the inside, others literally in fear of their lives.

As we sit heavy with a world’s sadness, sorrow and pain, we can breathe in sweet remembrance of  the Reason to savour the joy of our salvation, of our brokenness being made whole.

What if we primarily saw this season as a grace invitation to lean harder, listen closer, open our eyes and hearts to the Man for all seasons who stands ready with arms wide open to receive us?

A Man for all seasons

holly - for all seasons PJ

Deck the halls with boughs of holly

Fa la la la la la la la

‘Tis the season to be jolly

Fa la la la la la la la

But what if…

you feel the sharp prick of painful

circumstances bleeding into your days

or sway inside as you sip a bitter

cup bearing berries of unforgiveness,

or have grief eating you up within;

how can we celebrate a season of

consumerism or avoid its slick

perma-present ‘buy this’ rictus grin?

There is a way because there is a Man

for all seasons, a Son and Brother

who is our soul’s Lover; He stands

ready to ignite a fire to thaw all cold

and burden-heavy hearts

He sees the season we are in

and His gift offering invites us

instead to focus our blurry,

world-weary gaze on Him

It may feel wintry-chill within

our fearful souls but His Love’s warmth

seals against all ills as it permeates with

laser grace to revive and make us whole


I’m warming my heart today by having fellowship with fellow wordsmiths sharing their five-minute-friday offerings on the word prompt ‘season’ over at Kate Motaung’s place and with Mel and friends as we focus on the essential things of life and faith. You’re very welcome to join us.

for all seasons poem PJ