“Jesus calls us to recognize that gladness and sadness are never separate, that joy and sorrow really belong together, and that mourning and dancing are part of the same movement. That is why Jesus calls us to be grateful for every moment that we have lived, and to claim our unique journey as God’s way to mold our hearts to greater conformity with God’s own. The cross is the main symbol of our faith, and it invites us to find hope where we see pain, and to reaffirm the resurrection where we see death. The call to be grateful is a call to trust that every moment of our life can be claimed as the way of the cross that leads us to new life” (Henri J. M. Nouwen).
There’s an old Doctor Who episode in which the main villain’s idea of utopia is to force everyone to be happy and to punish those who show any kind of sadness. The Doctor’s response is that you can’t have happiness without some sadness or joy without some sorrow. They’re two sides of the same coin.
Lately, a lot of people are living out these supposedly conflicting emotions. There’s a lot of sadness and a lot of joy intermingled.
The cross is the perfect example of joy and sorrow meeting in one place. Sorrow was God’s own Son being slaughtered. Joy was the veil between us and God finally being torn down.
Sorrow and grieving are a natural part of life, as are joy and laughter. A well balanced life will have both in varying degrees throughout one’s life.
The way to gratitude really is to see that every part of our lives is God working in us and through us toward ultimate joy.