A friend posted this caption today and it struck me hard. This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot over the last week. It’s so hard to be joyful when there is so much destruction going on around you. Equally so, it’s so hard to embrace your joyful milestones and celebrations when someone you love is going through a storm.
I remember it all too well, in the midst of the chaotic storm I was going through, I had a lot of friends reach out to me and want to make time for me, allowing me to share my burden. I was so grateful for this and appreciative that my story mattered to them. But after a while it got hard. It got hard always focusing on me, always focusing on what was going wrong in my life. It was exhausting to continually update person after person about what was going on, how was I doing, how was Rhett, what can they do for me right now. Honestly, what I needed from them was a share in their joy and celebrations. I needed to hear about their lives; about their kid’s day at school, their recent birthday or upcoming trip. I needed to take the focus off the destruction happening in my life and turn my focus towards a joyful experience.
Friends often felt awkward talking about themselves and their amazing milestone they reached, or the trip they were about to take. They felt like it somehow portrayed that they didn’t care about me and what I was going through. They couldn’t be more wrong. Hearing them talk about their wedding plans, or tell me about their new kitten was exactly what I needed to hear in the midst of my pain.
We need your joys right now. We need to hear about how in love you are and your first date. We need to hear about what week of your pregnancy you’re on and how excited you are to meet your baby. We need you to get married and share the blissful-blushing-bride-butterflies you’ve got going on! We need your joy. The reason my friend posted the above caption is because him and his wife recently bought a house. They were given a bottle of wine at their wedding and decided they would crack it when they moved into their first home purchased as a married couple. This was a big moment for them, and they were excited to talk about it, but it was weird. It was weird to be this excited in the midst of all that is going on in the world.
It’s weird to be so excited when the world is so broken. It’s strange to feel joy when your friend is in utter anguish, their life is falling apart around them. You hold in your joy, not wanting it to be offensive to the grieving. It’s weird to celebrate in the midst of chaos. But we need it. We need you to celebrate! We need our mourning turned to joy and beauty in the midst of ashes. Please don’t stop celebrating. I need to see you celebrating birthdays, even if it’s just three people at the party. I need to see your wedding photo and how excited you are over your dress. I’m elated you’re happy. I’m excited you bought your first house, I bet you can’t wait to host your first summer BBQ, and you should totally post photos about it, smiling from ear to ear, even if there are only three of you there.
I know, the world is so broken, and it’s hurting, and it’s hard not to see all the damage that’s being done. I have been broken and hurting and in a place where there was damage being done, but I needed hope in the midst of it. Hope is birthed in the sharing of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. We need these fruits right now. We need you to share the stories of your love and joy and goodness right now. I need to see your pregnancy photo shoot and I don’t want you to feel guilty about how happy you are. I need to share in the joy of your engagement and I hope you’re not afraid to share your elation right now. Please, what are you doing that is lighting you up with laughter and joy right now? We need it. The world needs it.
Please, don’t for a moment think that it will come across like you don’t care if you share your joy. We know you care, you care deeply, so deeply you’re stifling your joy. Don’t do this. Let the joy overflow. It’s contagious, and we need it.