I have often told my kids that life is full of really good times, really hard times and a whole lot of in between.
I am reminded of this as the past couple of weeks a dear family friend and young mother of three, lay on her bed waiting to take her final breath, her family by her side, agonizing her leaving, yet mercifully releasing her to the one who loves her the most.
I reflect on this as I anxiously await news of our precious 5 month old grandson who has been in great pain and anxiety while test after test has been run to find out what ails the poor babe.
Simultaneously, a young bride to be, anticipates her wedding next weekend after a few years of painful losses, heartaches and disappointments.
Meanwhile, there is an election to be decided that will hold its own disappointments for one side or the other as each envisions the future they want for America.
In the midst of it all, dishes need washed, laundry needs done and we each have to wake up in the morning and face a new day not knowing if it will hold the good, the hard or the in-between.
The truth is that it can hold all of those things at once. We may bury a dear loved one the same week we rejoice in a wedding, all the while performing the daily mundane tasks of life.
We will cry, laugh, celebrate and mourn as is fitting for each circumstance we encounter because that is the stuff life is made of.
It is fitting to experience it all because as a wise counselor once told me, “you will never understand great joy, if you don’t let yourself experience great sorrow.” In other words, we can try to run from pain but that will only serve to dull our emotions and stagnate them from experiencing joy as well.
If the heart is the wellspring of life, it must overflow with all that it holds or something will be held back, leaving us incomplete and lop-sided in either extreme positivity or negativity, both of which will rob us from the ebb and flow of the whole experience of life itself.
When we are exhorted in Romans 12:15 to “weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice,” it is a call to wholeness, reality and all that encompasses the very nature of God himself, who does that a million times a day as he enters into the affairs of men and meets them where they are at.
We find balance when we accept and embrace each circumstance, leaning into the joys of life and the sorrows while living out the daily in-betweens as the anchor that safely holds us intact.
Today I have smiled, cried, anxiously prayed and played. I have washed dishes, changed diapers, laundered clothes and fixed meals. Tuesday, I will vote and Wednesday I will be in either the camp that is hopeful or the one greatly disappointed.
And in it all, I will find that some of it will be really good, some of it really hard and some of it will be in-between.
Because that is the stuff that life is made of.