Have you ever cried happy tears? Or laughed until you wept?
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. For our Fall Festival at church, I dressed up as "Sadness" from Inside Out along with two of my best friends who played "Joy" and "Disgust". In the movie, all of these characters (along with Fear and Anger) are emotions in a little girl's head. The girl, Riley, ends up running away from home after moving to a new school, not because there was too much Sadness, but because Sadness doubted her purpose in Riley's life. It's not Joy that brings Riley home in the end - it's a good memory tinted with Sadness.
I think there is a kind of goodness in grief.
In the movie, Joy was just an emotion. But here, I'm going to talk about joy, not an emotion, but the Biblical ever-present deep joy that comes from Jesus. To me, peace is joy mixed with grief. Grief was certainly not part of God's perfect design. But we live in a fallen world, a world that needed Jesus to become flesh and die for us. Sadness is now part of our world, and a significant part of the crucifixion. Where would the joy of the Resurrection be had we not first realized the immense loss, the undeserved brokenness of Jesus, the Father turning His back? How the inner circle must've mourned. Even those with the strongest hope that He would rise again - how they must've grieved with Jesus for the weight of the world on His beaten body. And on the third day? Utter joy.
But what was it that sustained them after? What pushed them to suffer and to eventually die for the Savior? During their last meal together, Jesus presented His body, broken for them, and His blood poured out for them, and commanded them to remember.
"And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, 'This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me." Luke 22:19
I believe some level of grief is necessary to remember: to remember why we fight, why we love, Who first loved us, Who has conquered the world (John 16:33).
Even Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, experienced grief. He knew full well the cup He was taking, the anguish He would experience, the separation from the Father. But in leaving the garden, He was able to face the sorrow ahead, because He knew the Father's heart and even in His grief, He gave it all to God.
The song "Porcelain" by Tow'rs (check them out, they're all I listen to right now) touches on loss, especially on unexpected, premature loss. This song is colored in sorrow, but also has an underlying feeling of joy - like golden memories. It's about losing someone - losing part of your life that is not coming back - but it perseveres in the joy of the life that is lost.
In heaven there is no cause for sadness, as there is no cause for anger. Yet, in this world, just like anger, sadness can be just and appropriate, even righteous, in its season, time and place.
When I have experienced loss, I've tried to cover it up, pretend life is normal, to force life's continuance. But I've found the only way to fully heal is to first fully mourn. And that sadness is okay, for a time. A season of grieving is needed before a season of healing. And especially in losing a loved one, it can make it possible to truly celebrate the lost life and time in a way that is grateful and allows growth. It can make it possible to remember, not without feeling loss, but with peace and assurance for the future.
"There is an occasion for everything and a time for every activity under heaven: a time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot; a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing; a time to search and a time to count as lost; a time to keep and a time to throw away; a time to tear and a time to sew; a time to be silent and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace." Ecclesiastes 3:1-8