“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)
Growing up in southern California, it was a rite of passage for high school senior girls to interview at the Pasadena Tournament House to be one of 7 royal court members to ride and wave on a decorated float in the New Year’s Day Rose Parade. As I stood among the finalists, I about fell to the floor when I heard my name called as one of the 2004 Tournament of Roses Princesses. An outburst of shouting and smiles and tears ensued as I locked eyes with my mom, aunt, siblings and friends holding signs and beaming with joy in dramatic rejoicing on my behalf. My heart was filled to overflowing.
I was married for 4 years and remember walking into my house that dark afternoon. My sister was standing at the top of the stairs, her arms opened wide. I said nothing, shook my head, and with tears streaming down my face I fell into her. Tears in her eyes, she held me and said nothing and we just cried and cried and cried. After years of infertility, the ultrasound confirmed my husband and I had lost another baby, this time in the second trimester.
Even though joy and sadness are common human experiences, extreme expressions of these emotions with others are often suppressed. There is deep emotion inside every person, but sharing that emotion with others can feel incredibly vulnerable. If I smile too big after an accomplishment, is that bragging? If I stay in bed too long in grief, is that wallowing? God made us human with feelings. Instead of numbing or suppressing those feelings, may we be people that live in authentic community, loving others well through the free expression of both shared joy and sadness.
Prayer of Response:
Benevolent Father, You are the greatest comforter I have ever known. In my darkest hours, I have felt you by my side. In my greatest accomplishments and life’s joys I feel you rejoicing and smiling over me. Thank you for the people you have put in my life that demonstrate Romans 12:15 so generously. Help me to be more like you in my free expression of emotion and empathy as I journey alongside others in authentic community. Amen.
Questions to Ponder:
- What, if anything, holds you back from rejoicing and weeping with those around you?
- Is it harder for you to invite others into your grief or celebration?
—Submitted by Erinne Baker
Erinne and husband, Travis live in Klamath Falls, Oregon where they are raising their four kids: Charlotte(9), Benjamin(6), William(5) and Wyatt(18 months). She is a pastor and lifelong learner of what it means to trust God, and live a life fueled by love and grace. She recently started a blog addressing tough questions of faith. https://truthseekeraskingquestions.com/