I sat in the theater a few nights ago watching the cast rehearsing “Fiddler on the Roof” distractedly trying to calculate ways to get set changes choreographed more efficiently when my mind snapped out of its musings for a short while. Arrayed before me, the men of our cast were giving me a window on life in the shtetls of late nineteenth century Russia. They were, in fact, about to launch into the song “To Life” when something told me to stop being a stage manager for a moment and just listen.
That’s when I heard the words that brought a few things into focus for me.
God would like us to be joyful even when our hearts lie panting on the floor.
I had heard the words over and over again in the past few months, but for some reason, that night they struck home. In these days, we all have hearts panting on the floor. Times are hard everywhere. We all worry about making ends meet, keeping our children and loved ones safe, and what the future might hold.
And yet, God would like us to be joyful.
It is in these times, when the storm clouds seem so dark and threatening, that we need the light of joy. Joy shines brightest in these times. And, truth be told, despite all of our hardships there is always a reason to find joy.
I admit, as cynical as I can be I am the worst culprit out there when it comes to refusing to find joy. In fact, today has been a prime example of that. My heart is definitely panting on the floor. But, that moment of clarity came rushing back to me and I realized that there is much joy to be found around me if I can see through the fog of despair that threatens to settle around me.
Despair is easy. Joy can be hard. But, which would you rather have? Sometimes, despite the effort it takes to clear away the shadows and gloom, the effort is worth it when the light hits your face and restores your faith.
Within Temptation had this to say in one of their songs:
Where is the edge of your darkest emotions?
Why does it all survive?
Where is the light of your deepest devotions?
I pray that it’s still alive.
We need to find that edge to our darkest emotions. We need to push past that edge back into the light of joy and devotion. This has nothing to do with religion, but it has a lot to do with faith and spirituality.
Have faith that there is joy out there for you. Seek out the edge of the darkness, break through it, and bask in the redeeming light of joy. Rekindle your devotion to that light, whatever it is for you.
Our hearts might be panting on the floor, but we can still walk in the light.