It seems like there are often times in my life when joy and disappointment are present at the same time and in the same place and sometimes even in the same circumstance. You might say “joy” and “disappointment” are brothers and sisters in the same family.
Sometimes something happens when we experience a great joy and in that joy things aren’t what we thought they were at first and disappointment follows as we encounter. We then have to find a way to work through the disappointment we experience instead or maybe in addition to the joy we feel. Sometimes joy and disappointment come to us not in the same moment or the same circumstance but one following upon the other only to discover that what we thought was a joyful moment or experience results in unexpected consequences and suddenly we face disappointment in our joy. Perhaps we begin something or go to some place thinking of all the joy we are going to experience and find that while we did indeed feel joy we were surprised by disappointment. Sometimes I have so looked forward to a big day in my life or for the arrival of someone or an important moment that when it arrived I faced some disappointment I hadn’t expected. Sometimes what I thought would bring me great joy didn’t and what came instead was disappointment. Sometimes I have discovered disappointment in myself or in others when joy was what I expected.
I guess life is complicated isn’t it? I guess when we are young we tend to think of things as black or white, up or down, but as we live longer we discover that life is more often than not “both and”, up and down, in and out, good and bad; all in the same moment and place. That’s what I mean when I say joy and disappointment can be like brother and sister. Life is a mixture of good and bad moments, joy and disappointment, and we all have to find a way to find peace and place in that. I wish life were more simple, more clean, more absolute but it isn’t. No, actually I like that life is complicated and more nuanced than we thought…that makes it more interesting and certainly more challenging.
I think I find God better in the nuances of life. I think God breaks into my life more genuinely and I hear him more authentically as I work through the ups and downs of life and the joy and disappointment of life in the same moment and time. I think life is more real when we realize that good and bad are part and parcel of the same moment and often in the same experience.
How does God speak to you in the complicated nuances of life? How do you find peace in the conflicts of daily living? How do you experience brother joy and sister disappointment at the family table? These are ways and the places in which we are invited to experience and to know God in the deepest sense.