Even optimists are sometimes sad. Life can be hard and scary, and there are days when the silver lining is hidden from view. But there are always moments of joy, always pieces of mercy sprinkled around.
We look up. We take our mind off the tasks in front of us, the problems surrounding us, the failure inside us. We look up, because God has the answer to our problems and failures. The gospel, the fact that He died and rose and lives again, provides for us what trying harder cannot provide. It releases us from guilt and fear and anger. It reconciles us with God and gives us peace. It infuses our lives with joy and the mercies that are new every morning.
It starts with the sunrise (because who can be sad or dismayed while viewing the glory of a new day filling with color and hope and possibility?) And it continues with God’s words (which are alive and powerful and true and able to bring healing and life and hope.)
Then we can look around to the edges of the day. If the day is not filled with happiness, we might find it in the edges where we least expect it. The hard is made softer by the flecks of joy hidden in the corners.
On the cancer floor there is lots of hard and lots of beauty. Old women pushing the wheelchairs of once-strong men, quiet laughter masking sad hearts, kind eyes meeting frightened ones, frailness overshadowed by inner strength. Beauty. It’s there if you look for it.
The fight itself can be beautiful. A young heart struggling to understand, rising to face another day with courage, stepping forward in the dark with firm faith, holding on and being held.
The journey has plenty of joy. We embrace each day because no one knows the number of days. No one gets to choose how many. What we have is today. We have today to love our people and take walks in the sunset and eat chocolate cake. Today we can smile at inconveniences and appreciate life’s messiness. Today we can forgive someone who is full of faults and weakness. Today we can really listen to someone’s struggles. Today we can be gentle with a hurting heart.
What are you facing that is difficult and dark and cold? What makes you feel like giving up or giving in? Maybe you could look for joy. It might not be right where you’re standing. Some days it might be hard to find. Seek it in the edges. Wait for the light. Let the Son warm you.
He gives strength and warmth and grace in unexpected places.
The LORD is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him. Psalm 28:7