Joy Comes in the Mourning

“Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free-wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself.”
— - C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

I'm here to tell a story of an amazing woman. This isn't an easy story to tell. It's a sad one, but it is meant to encourage. 

Early in my career, I was privileged to work for very kind lady who's name I will keep private. We met for lunch after being introduced by a mutual friend and agreed to work together. 

After a few weeks of searching, we finally found the house she loved. Through our  time of searching, we got to know each other fairly well. I found out that she was purchasing the home for her and her son. 

Time passes, and we are a couple short weeks from me handing her the keys.

I'll never forget the morning I got this text:

"Hey Jonathan, not sure if you have heard of the passing of my son. I'm still going through with things as planned... just working on getting this behind me."

Halfway through getting ready for my day, I slumped down onto my bed. Speechless. It was like the bones in my body had been turned to soft rubber. My thumbs poised to respond, but I didn't have the slightest clue as what to say. 

I'm not going to pretend that I can even remotely begin to understand the pain a mother experiences when losing her son/daughter. But I think I felt  the smallest iota of it radiating out of my phone, into my hand, and coursing through my being. 

I was still able to hand her the keys to her new home, but it was certainly a bittersweet day for her and everyone involved. 

I've been in touch with her since they day we met, if not on the phone, through social media. I've observed her throughout this whole process, and witnessed firsthand how she has handled everything. I can safely say I have learned something from her. 

What did she do? 

She kept a positive mindset. She welcomed the friends that came to her side in her darkest hour rather than shutting them out.  She stayed active in the community in multiple facets. She put a smile on her face and fought to continue her life. She thanked God for her son's life and for her's. From what  I can see, she thanks him for it every day. 

She grieved- absolutely. My guess is that she'll always be grieving inside to a certain extent. But she has sought out the joy in life despite the most painful of trials.  

Pain is a truth in life that cannot be avoided. But, from the same book I quoted at the beginning of this article, CS Lewis writes, "Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home." If you haven't read that book, you should. I digress. 

Learn from this young woman. No matter what you are struggling with. Not everyone is experiencing pain at the same capacity that she is, and some are experiencing it even worse than she has. That doesn't matter, it's what you choose to do with it that matters. Take that and apply it.

Never forget the loss, but never surrender to the pain. 
 Fight the good fight of living life.
There may be thorns... but they lead to roses.