To live a full, authentic life means learning to balance its joys and its sorrows. These days more than ever, we seem to be contending with both simultaneously.
My heart is full and concurrently heavy. Full, because my newborn grand niece was released from NICU this week. Heavy, because she and her parents are struggling with a healing process that will take years for her to complete. I'm excited and upset. Excited, because our church's fundraiser this Saturday is already one of our most successful. And alongside excitement, I'm saddened and angered by the persistent drumbeat of wars in Ukraine, Israel and Gaza.
So how do we balance being present in difficulty while still enjoying our blessings?
I find great hope and much inspiration in the story of Grammy winner Jon Batiste and his bride, bestselling author, and award-winning journalist, Suleika Jaouad. Last year, the same day Jon was nominated for 11 Grammys, Suleika began chemo treatment for an illness everyone thought she'd beaten a decade earlier.
"Holding the absolutely gutting, heartbreaking and painful things and the beautiful, soulful things in the same palm of one hand...it's hard to do that," she told a reporter. "But you have to do that, because otherwise the grief takes over."
So when the time for a bone marrow transplant came, the couple balanced the gravity of surgery with the bliss of marrying. Determined to keep cancer from taking over, on the eve of her transplant, they pledged their love and spoke their wedding vows as an act of defiance over darkness.
"Just turn on the light," Jon explains in the CBS news interview. "Focus on the light. Hold onto the light."
May divine light shine brightly within us all, especially when navigating through darkness.