My dad just called. His best friend’s wife passed away quite unexpectedly last night.
Life is seriously hard at times.
My brother’s car was stolen from Seattle a few days ago while he’s away traveling.
A friend’s neighbor trapped her cat and released it 50 miles from their home.
Children are shot at schools. People take their own lives.
Families crumble. Bank accounts dwindle.
Grandkids don’t call their grandparents. Promotions at work aren’t received.
Communities starve. People are sold into slavery.
Children are abused. Babies pass on before birth.
Natural disasters erase towns. Wars crush nations.
Life in our world is hard…but…
Now is the time to be relentless.
And before you think I’m foolish for suggesting celebration when life is seriously hard —
please hear me out.
Difficulties will become part of our story. No life remains untouched by sorrow.
— BUT — we can let them take hold and breed bitterness in our soul or we can embrace frustration and sadness for a time and then hope against all hope. We can let these things blacken our outlook on life or we can choose a different way.
We don’t need fake happy.
We need steady, rebellious celebration and infusions of joy in affliction.
Hard things don’t make sense. They probably never will. But here’s the thing…
Our celebration is a refusal to let darkness win.
It is a slap on evil’s face.
It’s what we desperately need.
It is deeply appropriate to acknowledge what is still good in your life.
Celebration in sorrow can be as simple as gratefulness for your next breath. For the family and friends still in your life. For the roof over your head and the food on your table. For the sun that warms your skin and the breeze that calms your soul.
It can be a heartfelt hug between neighbors. It can be choosing to show mercy when you’d rather show hate. Gathering friends around your table — feeding them well and offering them comfort. Lighting a candle on a dark day. Speaking gently when anger is easier. Talking a walk when you’d rather cry on the couch. Giving your presence when sadness strikes.
There is hope and it’s available to you. Restoration wells up when we point to the good and hold space for moments of hope that overshadow misery.
I’ll leave you with this verse:
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” 2 Cor. 4:8-9
And this song: