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The Balance Between Joy and Grief


I had a post mostly written a few weeks ago, then scrapped it. Our family has been on a roller coaster of sorts for the past three months or so. I haven’t had much time alone to think, much less write.

My brother is terminally ill with cancer, and my parents have moved their camper up to our property to be closer to him. We’ve shared some great times together, savoring every moment we can with him. He’s growing tired; the pain, and disease are taking their toll.

I wrestle with my own selfish thoughts, wants and so-called needs. I want to spend more time with him, but there’s another part of me that only wants to remember my strong, funny big brother like he was before this horrible thief of life took that away from me. I want to stay away, I want to hide in my own selfish feelings, but I know that’s not fair to him.

My folks are older, and this is wearing on them as well. I try to be strong for them, but all of our nerves are starting to fray.

Two weeks ago my brother’s oldest grandson passed away. He was 18, his 19th birthday would’ve been this month. He had been in a horrific car accident last fall. He had worked hard and rehabbed back, learning to walk, talk and he even moved back home. We were so optimistic for him and his future. Then suddenly, his mom found him in the middle of the night at his desk…Gone.

In my other post, I had all sorts of rants about who to blame for things going wrong in this world. The shootings, kids in drunk driving accidents, the breakdown of the family, I had it all. I threw it out, because none of that can change anything. My heart is still broken, our family is still barely hanging on, and the world continues to spin out of control, it seems.

What I can change is how I handle each of these things in my own life. My family has a huge support system surrounding us and lifting us up in prayer constantly. Without that, we would be much less able to cope with these things that are piling up around us.

A couple of weeks ago, I brought my grandkids home with me to give their daddy some time to study for a test he’s going to take soon. As we were driving up our dirt road, they asked why I want to live out here.

I think about this a lot. Especially when things are hard. The constant wind is annoying. The heat of the summer is oppressive. The water leaking through the window in our bedroom is depressing. The lack of money to finish our house is discouraging, but….

What I told them is the quiet is one of the things I value the most. I love the animals, birds and even the critters that we live with in harmony.

To be able to look out and have an unobstructed view in any direction is priceless. I look out our window at night and I can see the stars, billions of them.  I try to find beauty and joy in all things, even the smallest blossom on a weed. We’ve been given such a wonderful opportunity to live here, for however long. I’m not talking about my property. I’m talking about all of us.

We need to connect with whatever love and beauty we’ve been given. Find joy in the everyday things. Love when you can, grieve when you need to, and live your life with as full a cup of joy as you can every single moment.

“…Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10


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