The Joy Effect

I cannot tell you how grief will look tomorrow, or even how it will look tonight as I go to sleep. All I can do is describe how it has been. And here’s something that has stood out to me: the times of my deepest joy in the last few weeks have brought simultaneously the deepest sorrow. Some of these instances have had to do directly with the loss of Chris. This has been happening since the beginning, and now that Chris is gone, the sorrow and beauty sear me at the same moment. When we stood in Chris’s hospital room the morning he died, I said to my brother-in-law, Charlie, “I’m gonna need you.” The implications were understood: I have four children without an earthly father present. Charlie replied, “I’m ready.”

The beauty in those two simple words. It overwhelms me still. There’s an ocean of grace and love behind them. But it’s the same ocean of my sorrow–the same water that engulfs me in an anguish too big to understand. It’s the same ocean.

More recently I’ve experienced this in a somewhat more inexplicable way, where the link to Chris isn’t so overt. I had a gathering for my birthday–just women–that was a thing of love, through and through. No stone was unturned in communicating care, beauty, truth, goodness. I didn’t anticipate the deluge of sadness in me during the gathering. The best way I could understand it at the time was that even such heights of love couldn’t touch the emptiness of losing Chris. But I think I have a slightly different understanding now.

Sunday we spent the night with my sister’s family, specifically so that I could watch The Greatest Showman (my niece’s favorite movie) for the first time. The joy of that film opened me. The space in my chest just expanded with air and lightness, the depths of my heart felt reached by joy. But I had to leave partway through to cry in the bathroom. I texted Chris’s phone, I miss you so much, babe. I sat on the toilet seat and looked at his pictures on my phone while the rest of the family waited for me to resume watching. When the movie was over I cried on the couch and tried to explain to my niece that, in fact, I really did love the movie.

Al and Charlie tried to articulate for me the link to Chris: the story is about enduring love. But no, that wasn’t why I was sad. And of course there will be times I will want to share things that I love with Chris, and that will bring a fresh anguish, but this was not one of those times. I’m pretty sure Chris would, at every level, hate The Greatest Showman. Nothing about the movie specifically made me long for Chris.

But what I see happening, perhaps, is that when my heart is opened up in joy–when something reaches in and gives air to those deep places–air and light and opening is given to everything those deep places hold. It’s the same ocean. To access the depths is to access it all, and right now the depths are holding so much.

As I wake up each day and do what is required of me, I don’t know what my grief will look like. The sorrow is there, and it will be plumbed one way or another. Sometimes it just wells up out of nowhere, of course, or in the context of talking and thinking about Chris. But sometimes, the deepest times, it has come alongside a true joy I am experiencing. Al said with tears, “What a kindness.”

120 thoughts on “The Joy Effect

  1. 0mniartist

    Wonderful site you have here but I was curious about if you knew
    of any forums that cover the same topics talked about here?
    I’d really love to be a part of community where I can get responses from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest.
    If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thanks!
    asmr 0mniartist

    Reply
  2. instagram takipçi satın al

    What i don’t understood is in reality how you’re not actually a lot more neatly-liked than you
    may be now. You’re so intelligent. You understand
    thus considerably when it comes to this matter, produced me for my part consider it from so many varied angles.

    Its like women and men don’t seem to be involved until it’s something to accomplish with Woman gaga!
    Your personal stuffs excellent. Always care for
    it up!

    Reply
  3. TAKIP2018 TAKIPCI SATIN AL

    Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through
    some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely delighted
    I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back often!

    Reply
  4. takip 2018 takipçi satın al

    We are a group of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community.
    Your web site offered us with valuable info to work on. You’ve performed an impressive job and our entire neighborhood will probably be grateful to you.

    Reply
  5. ucuz takipçi al

    It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button!
    I’d without a doubt donate to this fantastic blog! I guess for now i’ll settle
    for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
    I look forward to brand new updates and will share this
    site with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

    Reply
  6. TAKip 2018 instagram takipci al

    Just desire to say your article is as astounding. The clarity
    for your submit is just excellent and i can suppose you’re a professional in this
    subject. Well with your permission let me to snatch your RSS feed to stay updated with coming near near post.

    Thanks one million and please carry on the gratifying work.

    Reply
  7. layer 4

    What i do not realize is actually how you’re now not actually
    much more neatly-preferred than you might
    be now. You’re very intelligent. You already know therefore significantly with regards to this subject,
    produced me individually believe it from numerous varied
    angles. Its like women and men are not interested unless it is
    something to accomplish with Lady gaga! Your individual stuffs great.
    All the time maintain it up!

    Reply
  8. leke kremi

    Vücudumuzun en önemli bölümlerinden olan cildimize iyi bakmak, kendimize yapacağımız en iyi yatırımdır.

    Gelişen en yeni teknolojiler sayesinde, cilt lekelerinin yüzde
    95 kadarını tedavi edilebiliyor. lekekremim.com dan
    aldığınız leke kremi hemen vücudunuzdaki lekelere çözüm sunmaktadır.

    .

    Reply
  9. instagram takipçi satın al

    Hey I am so delighted I found your weblog, I
    really found you by mistake, while I was browsing
    on Askjeeve for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would
    just like to say thanks for a remarkable post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design),
    I don’t have time to go through it all at the moment but I have saved it and also
    added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a lot more, Please do keep
    up the excellent work.

    Reply
  10. Instagram türk takipçi satın al

    Right here is the right blog for anybody who really wants to understand this topic.
    You realize so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa).
    You certainly put a new spin on a topic that’s been written about for ages.
    Excellent stuff, just great!

    Reply
  11. shell download

    Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words
    in your article seem to be running off the screen in Opera.
    I’m not sure if this is a format issue or
    something to do with web browser compatibility but I figured I’d
    post to let you know. The style and design look great though!
    Hope you get the problem fixed soon. Many thanks

    Reply
  12. takip2018

    organik takipçi satın al

    Organik Takipçinin Özellikleri Nedir?

    Organik takipçi sayesinde satın aldığınız takipçilerin tamamı gerçek profillerdir ve aktif
    hesaplardan oluşur.
    Takipçileriniz organik olduğu için sizin paylaşımlarınızı beğenebilirler.

    organik Türk takipçi almanız durumunda direk hesabınız direk erişim
    sağlar
    Böylelikle sizin profilinizi zengin gören kişiler
    sizi takip etmekten mutlululuk duyacaktır

    .

    Reply
  13. web hosting

    Great website. Lots of useful information here.
    I am sending it to several friends ans additionally sharing in delicious.
    And of course, thanks for your effort!

    Reply
  14. http://tinyurl.com

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and
    was wondering what all is required to get set up? I’m assuming
    having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100% positive.
    Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Kudos

    Reply
  15. tinyurl.com

    I’m really loving the theme/design of your website.
    Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems?
    A handful of my blog readers have complained about my blog not working correctly in Explorer but looks
    great in Opera. Do you have any advice to help fix this issue?

    Reply
  16. ps4 games

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thanks, However I am having
    difficulties with your RSS. I don’t understand the reason why I am unable to subscribe to
    it. Is there anybody getting identical RSS issues?
    Anyone who knows the answer will you kindly respond?

    Thanks!!

    Reply
  17. gamefly

    Link exchange is nothing else however it
    is just placing the other person’s webpage link
    on your page at proper place and other person will also do same in favor
    of you.

    Reply
  18. http://lexlydia.net

    I am extremely impressed with your writing talents as smartly as with the structure in your weblog.
    Is this a paid topic or did you customize it yourself?

    Either way stay up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to look a great weblog like this
    one these days..

    Reply
  19. froleprotrem

    Hey there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing many months of hard work due to no back up. Do you have any solutions to protect against hackers?

    Reply
  20. cheap flights

    Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed!
    Extremely useful information particularly the last part :
    ) I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this certain info for a very long time.
    Thank you and good luck.

    Reply
  21. Dee Crownover

    I do concur, that all I knew of Chris…he would’ve hated that movie…except, I think he would’ve said under his breath “I wonder how many times it took them to shoot that portion with Zendaya on the trapeze?”
    -Continued prayers of peace and blessing over your family through all the waves!
    love, Dee

    Reply
  22. Rebecca Thompson

    Thank you for continuing to share, Sarah. Praying for you, the kids, and the rest of your family. These verses came to mind:

    “5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
    whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
    6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka (Misery or Weeping),
    they make it a place of springs;
    the autumn rains also cover it with pools.” -Ps 84:5-6 (NIV)

    Reply
  23. Emily Blair

    This is so lovely, Sarah. Thank you for continuing to articulate your thoughts. You make so much sense…and I don’t just mean that I can understand what you’re saying, but that you are bringing me understanding for years of grief I never really put into words. Still praying for you all.

    Reply
  24. Claire Childs

    Thank you for sharing with us, Sarah! I pray for you and Jesse and Ruthie and Andrew and Mary all the time, and it’s so good to be hearing from you. You are walking in light through the valley of the shadow. May you continue to feel our good Shepherd carrying you all!
    Love,
    Claire Childs

    Reply
  25. Judy Smith

    Sarah, I was so struck by your thoughts that feelings of joy and grief come from “the same ocean.” It was so profound. I was talking with my husband about it, and he shared this quote from The Return of the King by JRR Tolkien.

    And all the host laughed and wept, and in the midst of their merriment and tears the clear voice of the minstrel rose like silver and gold, and all men were hushed. And he sang to them, now in the elven-tongue, now in the speech of the West, until their hearts, wounded with sweet words, overflowed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness.”

    God bless you, my sister, and may the Lord continue to hold you and comfort you each moment of each day. Thank you for sharing from the depths of your well. May your tears continue to be the very wine of blessedness.

    Reply
  26. Hailey Kingsley

    I am grateful you have chosen to continue writing/sharing with us. Your word choice is so specific and I believe perfect, that there is a depth and a “with you” feeling that i am grateful for. It’s rich and special. Raw, beautiful, gutting. I laughed out loud when you talked about how you were pretty sure Chris “would hate” that movie (I called him and Matt “cinema snobs”, they were something else to listen to in those college days). Thank you for the gift you are giving to us as you share openly and eloquently of your experience of the deep and mysterious walk through grief and “what happens after”.

    Reply
  27. Anita

    The same ocean indeed. Thank you for framing grief this way and for sharing it here. Love you so very much and praying for more joy for you—but also for comfort, as it necessarily means more sorrow.

    Reply
  28. Betsy Rogers

    I remember every thing you write about. I will tell time will be healing and God will never leave you. God will get you to the other side but it is slow. Praying constantly for you and your sweet children .

    Reply
  29. Cindy Kross

    Continue to lift you and your precious family up to Our Lord daily! May you be carried on the wings of prayer every moment of every day.

    Reply
  30. Anonymous

    Yes. ….simply, yes, Sarah.
    Continuing to hold you and the kids, heart and soul, in love and prayer…and virtual hugs!
    Bonnie

    Reply

Leave a Reply to Judy Smith Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.