Back in the day I heard Amy Grant singing, “I’ve finally found the reason that I’m happy sad.” This lyric deserves a hearty laugh, I thought at that time. “Happy sad.” Impossible! thought my unseasoned heart. One is either happy or one is sad.
Forty or so orbits around the sun later I am starting to get it. Not only is happy sad possible, it may be a key indicator in personal well-being. Those who can hold opposites at the same time may have the best grasp on the reality of life.
Forty days after the joy and celebration of Jesus’ birth Mary hears the words, “A sword will pierce your soul too.” Puzzled? Yes. Shaken? No. Mary held celebration and crucifixion in her heart at the same time.
It really is “The most wonderful time of the year.” Our tree is decorated, the kitchen filled with sweet delights, the standing prime rib is ready for the oven tomorrow, and Tim Allen is busy saving Christmas on the television. More importantly, Jesus is both Lord and Christ. Our hearts are filled, not with only His birthday party, but with Him. He is among us! Happy.
In the past two weeks I have been involved in the lives of five people who surprisingly died. No one was expecting any of them to die.
- Gary – 67 year old father and grandfather
- Chelsea – 21 year old friend
- Tavita – an MCA Island Revival member
- Hannah – 23 year old student
- Keith – 68 year old life time Christian minister
Five wonderful people gone much too soon. I attended four funerals in the past 10 days. Sad.
Just a few days before these five died Debbie Burger left this life for the next. To my knowledge all six of these dear folks simply went to sleep for the night and awakened in eternity.
Tomorrow is my annual December 24th shopping spree with a friend and my two sons. For thirty years my friend and I have made this annual splurge. I am very much looking forward to the day. At the same time I will be sharing the emotions of my almost cousin Kent who, for the first time in his life, is celebrating Christmas without his father.
Today, if you are feeling happy sad, you can rejoice that you have a high degree of maturity and can hold the tension of paradox. It seems to me that God is, at times, happy sad too.
Amy’s song got it right.