Where is the Joy? {Day 30 in 31 Days of Filling the Well}

Where is the joy in this?

Writing about joy at this moment feels flimsy and phony. Against a backdrop of scenes of destruction, against news from friends whose homes have been destroyed, against the heart-wrenching pictures of patients being evacuated from NYU hospital (why was it those pictures that got me so much?), my own tiny journey of healing feels so insignificant. How on earth does joy fit into this?

I don’t know. I just don’t know.

But I think, just maybe, it’s okay not to know. In my college religion classes, students would shout hard-edged questions, demanding answers cast in stark black-and-white. If God is good, why does evil exist? If God is all-powerful, why do natural disasters occur? I do not think real life exists within the confines of these narrow questions. I think there is great wisdom in living into the confusion and hurt for a time, not trying to escape but learning the contours of the pain of wondering why.

But as we walk around inside the pain, at the same time, we let ourselves be held in the knowledge that pain is only part of the story, not the story itself. We do not have to understand the larger story at that moment. We only have to hold the pain in one hand, and in the other hand, the prospect of that larger story.

Sometimes joy isn’t in the barefoot walks and the bluebirds. Maybe sometimes joy is just a moment, in the midst of the confusion and hurt and pain, of resting in the palm of the unknowable greater story.

Prayers of peace.