Sometimes I don’t know how to be. There’s the honesty of hurting, the optimism of hoping. the acceptance of reality, the holiness of questioning, the freedom of laughter, the choice of trusting. So which space do I occupy today? I wish I could just be happy, happy, happy all the time, regardless of my circumstances.

Yeah right.

But this Henri Nouwen meditation pulled it all together for me.

“Celebration can only really come about where fear and love, joy and sorrow, tears and smiles can exist together. Celebration is the acceptance of life in a constantly increasing awareness of its preciousness. …We can indeed make our sorrows, just as much as our joys, a part of our celebration of life in the deep reality that life and death are not opponents but do, in fact, kiss each other at every moment of our existence.””My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1: 2-4 (NRSV)

So it’s not about eliminating the sorrows and trials, it’s about integrating them. It’s about letting endurance have its full effect. (“So that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing” is a big deal in itself.) It’s about finding the meaning of the kiss. Some might call it paying attention to the shadow side. Somehow, it all belongs.

Philip Yancey recently wrote about the elderly people in his life recalling times of war and other difficulties with nostalgia. Isn’t that fascinating?

Maybe the bad helps us lock in to the good.  

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