Living in my mind a lot, as I am in school again, I sometimes wonder and question myself, what I am learning, the past, the present and the future. It is a lot! Anxiety can creep in as I forget who I am, and come home seeking recovery. It is not that the work robs me of something; but in my laser focus on the tasks at hand, on reading other’s thoughts in books and articles, or hearing other’s words, I can get lost.
Coming back to who I am, as I write this, as I marvel at the wonderland that is my life at present, I am amazed at how blessed I am. An evening of laughter with family all around me, a husband and mother who cook a feast for all, time to reflect in quiet as I look at a candle, my books, my writing tools; my children’s plump earthly faces to be kissed and squeezed; the dazzling light of the love I feel…
It is important to remember that life is always blessed, but we are not always aware. We may be pining for days past or looking forward too much, or we might be sunk right in the middle of something that has all of our attention, and mirth is the last thing on our hearts and minds.
Mirth is an interesting word; it is a very old word that to our modern ears might sound like a problem, but it actually means merriment, gladness, laughter. Fun. In the Bible, it was used to describe joy or laughter when the people celebrated; but mirth was also discouraged by the Prophets or in Proverbs when the people needed the wisdom to mourn or mend their ways. (We can have too much merriment!)
I find a life that is blessed has both mourning and mirth; laughter and lament; joy and sorrow. We are meant to bend into what God would have us be. We may not always know why we are laughing, or why we are crying. But to live is to feel. And to be in Christ is the be clothed in both merriments at the Bridegroom’s (Jesus’s) spiritual presence in our hearts, and His physical absence on a planet where we live or witness other’s devastation, loss and toil.
But what do mirth and mourning have to do with realizing a life of being blessed? I no longer need to be happy all of the time, to feel blessed. I no longer want to make light of everything in order to feel OK. I know God sustains me even when things are dry or times are difficult; when life gets in the way. I can sense God’s presence, even as I watch TV (perhaps asking me to turn it off!). I can feel God pulling me out of bed to come and contemplate, to put things in my soul aright.
Life is complicated. God is not. We feel many things, merriment, mirth, happiness, sadness, fear, anxiety, calm and contentment. Our feelings lead us to understand life, to process its many facets. There is beauty even in the ashes of life, in lament. A true poet, a prophet, a lover of God feels greatly, and loves deeply. We can express the entirety of life in many colours. God created everything. God is with us (the meaning of the name Immanuel) in everything. So why not embrace all as a blessing? And feel our way in God.
There are miracles in both mirth and mourning. Embrace your life. Live fully and love God.