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  • ellen

Finding Our Way Back

Those who are “joyful in spirit” are not immune to heartbreak. In fact, I think those of us who are “over-indexed” with an uncanny cheerful disposition might possibly feel the pangs of parting more deeply than others. Loss is inevitable. The loss of a friendship; the passing of a loved one; or, the empty chair vacated by a family member who no longer desires to be family. Sooner or later we all come to the same crossroad, a singular moment when we say goodbye.

It’s a perplexing intersection for most everyone. Should we, could we, can we, return to our well-worn path of joy? If so, when and how? Or, do we unwittingly succumb to another route, slowly losing ourself to the pain along the way? It is at the crossroad of Loss and Joy where we each choose, either consciously or subconsciously, which path to take.

In The Book of Joy, Archbishop Desmond Tutu sums up the benefits of consciously discovering joy in the face of adversity: “Discovering more joy does not, I’m sorry to say, save us from the inevitability of hardship or heartbreak. In fact, we may cry more easily, but we will laugh more easily, too. Perhaps we are just more alive. Yet as we discover more joy, we can face suffering in a way that ennobles rather than embitters. We have hardship without becoming hard. We have heartbreak without being broken.”

In the aftermath of a recent tragedy (no heart breaks more readily than a mother’s for her child), I returned to the road of joy, today. But I didn’t navigate my way here by myself. My traveling companions consisted of a merry band of sweet friends who took me by the hand and led the way.

Are you looking for the road back to your jubilant, playful self? I’d love to walk with you. For we joyful spirits must band together as we light a path for others. Let not our heartbreaks go wasted but used for a greater purpose.

And, along the way I will be here to remind you: Because you chose joy, you are just a little bit more alive.

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