What Can You Do With Joy When There Is So Much Hurt In The World?
It was just supposed to be a short vacation.
Not a chance to learn yet another life lesson.
A chance to not work my brain and my heart so hard.
That was the idea.
Until reality came crashing into paradise.
“Did you hear what happened in Orlando?” Husband asked on the second day, as I woke up from an alarm-clock free slumber.
I reached for my phone and started following.
That we all know too well by now.
Lives cut short.
I took in updates as fast as I could get them.
Alerts from paradise started breaking into my focus on the news.
“Time to take the Barista Class,” my phone reminded me.
“Explore the Rain Forest. Stand up paddle board” were on the calendar for later.
As I tried to laser focus on the breaking news, I wanted to swat these fun, joyful experiences away like pesky mosquitos.
How am I supposed to experience joy when others are hurting?
This wasn’t just a current events question.
It’s something I think about.
What about you, Dear Reader?
Do you, too, tend to be a “Grass is always browner,” type of thinker?
How can I enjoy my husband when I know I have friends who are single and lonely?
How can I allow myself a vacation when my mother is too weak to travel?
How can I just go play when precious lives have snuffed out?
The list of denying joy can go on and on.
Yet, even as I worry and focus on other’s pain and struggles, I sense I’m getting something wrong.
That this is not an attribute to boast about.
My thousandth time checking up on the latest from Orlando, it struck me.
One Snapchat video.
Shot by 25-year-old Amanda Aleavar from inside The Pulse nightclub.
A 30 second clip where the last 10 seconds you hear rounds of gunfire.
Tragically, Amanda would become one of the 49 dead.
It is truly jarring and terrifying.
But it’s the first 15 seconds that also caught my attention.
These young people were dancing.
Until their final moment,
For all the dances they can’t.
For all the times I can’t.
When I can dance, I must.
It’s not choosing
Of feeling pain,
Or choosing joy.
It’s an “And.”
Make the difference where I can.
And I have to dance.
I ask you to do the same.
To paddle board.
To swing through a jungle.
Simply because you can.
When you can.
Because it’s one way to help.
To say darkness doesn’t win.
For those kids on the dance floor.
Let joy win.
And if you like my column about figuring out this marriage thing, you might like my book–