The Ihtersection of Sorrow and Celebration

“That sweet night a secret.Nobody saw me; I did not see a thing. No other light, no other guide Than the one burning in my heart.” – John of the Cross

Life’s most breathtaking moments rise where sorrow and celebration intersect.

I think about these times of intersection in our lives. There are what I consider the big ones, the one-time experiences, and the small, which recur again and again through our lives:

-- Singing “How Great Thou Art” with several generations of family at a funeral. -- The end of a relationship. -- The birth of a child, followed by the news he won’t live through the night. -- Waking after surgery (I survived! I am alive!) to my doctor’s voice, “How are you feeling? It was cancer, but you already knew that.” -- The death of a loved one who has suffered from a debilitating illness. -- Goodbye hugs from our children and grandchildren.

Big or small, these events all reside at the intersection of sorrow and celebration, of day and night, darkness and light. When we’re traveling the road of sorrow, there are times when dark nights can become an anathema.

Lately I have been leaning toward the dark side, spending too much time dwelling on sorrow and not enough in celebration. So yesterday afternoon I began reading Dark Nights of the Soul: A guide to finding your way through life’s ordeals. In it, author Thomas Moore says of illness: “You make a sudden movement into your mortality; which you have probably ignored for years. Life now changes radically. Relationships shift. The things that give meaning are put into new perspective. You wonder endlessly. You discover new fears.” (And for me, drop old ones!) ”You try to sort out what is important from what is distracting.”

In approaching the dark curtain that separates life and death, in trying to embrace what will be ours on the other side, the world we currently live in becomes illuminated. Perhaps the greatest contradiction, the most breathtaking of intersections between the roads of sorrow and celebration, is this: In seeking the answer to the mystery of death, we are given the secret to finding joy in life.

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,” Ephesians 1:18

About the Author: My name is Vicki Strong and I live in beautiful Minnesota.

I am currently walking through the God\'s refining fire, having first nursed my husband through treatment for leukemia, which almost took his life three years ago, but strengthened our bond to each other. Two months after he returned to work, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 leiomyosarcoma in my jaw with mets to my lymph nodes. Miraculously, after five surgeries, I show no evidence of disease, today. I am now called to care for our adult daughter with developmental disabilities (autism) through heart surgery and recovery. See details on my journey at www.caringbridge.org/visit/vickistrong and www.joggingtothefinishline.wordpress.com

By God's healing hand alone, I am a grace-filled servant for the Lord. I serve as director for our Generosity Initiative, edit the church newsletter, work with Disabilities Ministries, Women\'s Ministries and as coordinator for Disaster Response. I am on the disaster response board for our city, and work with at-risk families through two local organizations, and with adults with disabilities in a day program. My everyday life is journaled at www.minnesotamornings.wordpress.com

With all of this, the great joy of my life is the birth of two grandchildren to our daughter, who is married to a pastor and lives three hours away. Every opportunity I get, I make the three hour trip for a heaping helping of unconditional love and lots and lots of hugs! I am blessed!