Mourning and Rejoicing

Sorrow never entirely leaves the soul
of those who have suffered a severe loss. . . .
but this depth of sorrow is the sign of a healthy soul,
not a sick soul.
It does not have to be morbid or fatalistic.
It is not something to escape but something to embrace.
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Sorrow indicates that people who have suffered loss are living authentically
in a world of misery, and it expresses the emotional anguish
of people who feel pain for themselves or for others.
Sorrow is noble and gracious.
It enlarges the soul until the soul is capable of
mourning and rejoicing simultaneously,
of feeling the world’s pain and hoping for the world’s healing at the same time.
However painful, sorrow is good for the soul.


Jerry Sittser, A Grace Disguised

When Authenticity Was a Poor Choice

“Good morning, Tricia! And how are you today?”

I have a half-second lead time to decide: to be authentic or to give a safe answer.

“You know what?” I pause for a moment. For so many reasons. “I’m very sad today.”

“Sad?! Well, that’s because the sun isn’t shining today. I’m sure that’s why.”

Actually, it’s not. I love grey skies. And you don’t have enough in you for me to tell you that I want to pass the parenting baton. Tag the teammate. I don’t think I can do the reading log and the math homework tonight. Plus the baths and the fingernails. And the fighting and the silly. I don’t want to do this anymore, and today I’m not even striving for excellence. I’m putting one foot in front of the other because that’s what needs to happen. So, you know what? You’re the one who asked. I’m sad.  And too tired to pretend I’m not.

“Well, that just won’t do! You’re my ray of sunshine! I count on you to bring sunshine into my life!”

Then don’t. Don’t do that.

Truly Something.

“What was the first thing you noticed about your spouse?”


The women are seated on one side of the table, the men on the other.  We didn’t choose to sit this way, like a middle school dance, but here we are.


The women go first.


“I saw him in a sea of his old girlfriends, gathered around him at a wedding reception.  And I guess that’s not a bad thing.  All of those people still wanted relationship with him.  He was pretty captivating.”


“We were in college, and I heard live music playing.  I went to the student life center, and I could see through one small sliver between the black paper on the windows.  And there he was, playing his drums.  And I wanted to meet him.  I wanted to know him.”


“I watched him with his friends, and I knew his relationships were real.”


“I watched him play the drums, and I knew he was interested in me because he kept looking at me.”


“He was the only person in my high school who was kind to everyone.”


And then it is the men’s turn.


“You girls said all these nice things. Now you’re about to hear our answers, if we’re honest… butt, boobs… but really, I noticed her eyes and her smile and her hair… that went all the way down to her cute butt.”


“I noticed her sweet smile.  Actually, I don’t remember noticing her.  But I sure did.”


There was an emptiness in me.  Oh, to hear those words again, to hear Robb tell about falling for me.  It is something to be loved.  It is really, truly something.


A sweet friend, who knows the emotional temperature in the room and the words that are never said, pulled me aside after the meal.  With tears, she said, “Tell me what he would have said about you.”


And with my own tears, I told her.


“He said I had curves in all the right places.  And he loved my hair.”


It is something to be loved.  Truly something.

Few Answers, Just Questions.

What do I do with words like these?

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” ~ Proverbs 3:7-8

What do I do when the very words of the Bible contradict what has happened in my life?

More specifically, what God has allowed to happen?

I have few answers this morning. Just questions.
And for every answer, I have two more questions.

And I can’t really speak them out loud.  My questions are a dark haze that cloud my words and thoughts.  I don’t even know what I would ask, really.

So please don’t try to fix this for me today.

I only know I have no choice but to believe.
There’s nothing else to do.


I looked at pictures of him. Alive. Playing with my sons, tossing them into the pool as they giggled with anticipation. You can practically hear them in the photo image. Our sons. Such a happy day. He was alive.

As I look at the pictures, I physically feel the heaviness. The heaviness in my spirit stretches into my bones. My shoulders feel heavy. My eyelids too.

I realize how much I don’t think about him.
How little I think about him.
Really, truly stop and think about him.

It’s too heavy. All of it. All of me.