April 2020 E-News
Life's Paradox of Pain and Joy
"For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one."
Khalil Gilbran
In this issue of the E-News we're exploring the paradox of joy and sadness in relationships. Without joy, relationships become tiresome and difficult. But if we can’t make space for sadness, we may lose the chance to connect meaningfully.

A few weeks ago, as I pondered this paradox, I sat down with my daughter on a rainy afternoon and watched the 2015 Pixar movie Inside Out . It's one of those rare movies that adults end up appreciating as much as the kids. In it, an 11-year old girl named Riley moves with her family from her idyllic home in Minnesota t o a much different life in San Francisco. The majority of the movie, however, takes place in Riley’s mind’s Headquarters where her five core emotions (Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust) run the show. At first, Joy is in charge and trying her best to prevent Riley from feeling any Sadness about losing touch with her previous life. But as time goes on, Anger, Fear, and Disgust take over and Riley runs away.

In the clip below we see how Sadness brings Riley back to the love of her parents. In this situation, it’s Sadness that creates the connection. And because of that connection, it’s Sadness that allows them all to experience a little bit of Joy once again.

In this strange time of Coronavirus and social isolation, many of us are feeling a real sense of sadness, grief, and pain. Remember to connect with someone, let them know how you’re feeling, and listen to what they’re feeling. It may just be that in sharing your sadness, you actually bring about a little bit of joy.

Becca Perry-Hill

Becca Perry-Hill is the Outreach Manager for Lumunos. She lives with her family on a mini-farm in Brevard, NC. She can be reached at becca@lumunos.org.
When Sorrow and Love Flow Mingled Down
*Note: Alan Ward, his wife Laurie, son Brady (age 14), and daughter Becca (almost 12) live in Waldorf, Maryland. Alan is a science writer for NASA who has a passion for the spiritual side of life; Laurie is a United Methodist pastor. Almost 12 years ago, Laurie gave birth to Becca and her twin sister Hope. Sadly, Hope passed away after two days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU. This article is a shortened version of an article Alan originally wrote in April 2009 and posted on his blog in May 2009 . The original post can be found by clicking here .  

Over the past year, my wife Laurie and I have experienced deep feelings of love for both of our daughters, and also great sorrow over the loss of one. And we’ve experienced these conflicting emotions virtually simultaneously. Rebecca lived and is a healthy 11-month old, but her twin sister Hope died tragically two days after birth. We've had to try and reconcile those two facts. In a few weeks we will celebrate Becca's birthday but then two days later, we will honor the first anniversary of Hope's death. This is the emotional whiplash that characterizes our life now—and will for the rest of our lives.

Friends and family also struggle to reconcile these two events in their minds just as we do. Not surprisingly, people tend to urge us to focus on the love we have for Rebecca and forget all about the sorrow over the loss of Hope. But we cannot separate the two! Even though we understand why it happens and realize that no one intentionally sets out to hurt us, when others forget Hope so easily, it brings us pain. 

Having lived through the loss of a daughter, I’d have to assume that in some mysterious way, God the Father experienced deep sorrow in watching God the Son die on the Cross. Even though there came a point where Laurie and I both realized the most loving thing we could do for Hope was to remove her from life support, it was still very hard to sit there in the NICU at Johns Hopkins and watch our daughter die in our arms. It was probably the hardest thing either of us has ever had to do.

The second verse of the old hymn   When I Survey the Wondrous Cross  gives expression to this mystery:

It seems to me that as we seek to understand the meaning of the Cross we have to acknowledge that both  sorrow  and  love  are expressed simultaneously and merge together in this single act that defies our human understanding. As finite beings we struggle to understand and enter into this "mingling" together of two completely opposite human emotions. We're not very comfortable living within that tension. We’d prefer to focus on love and leave out sorrow, but life doesn’t always give us that option.
The good news is that suffering is not the end of the story. This is the message behind the miracle on which Christians base their faith: Christ is risen!  What we celebrate on Easter, and in some way, every Sunday when we gather for worship is that even death cannot hold back God's love for creation. That includes you and me and every living thing!  God will do  extraordinary  things to see that his dream for creation comes true, and that we become the people he created us to be.
Alan Ward
Reflection Question
When has the paradox of joy and pain entered into your relationships?
Holding the Hope for One Another:
A conversation about maintaining friendships
in the time of Corona.
Two Offerings:
Thursday, April 16th, 11 AM - 12 PM (ET): Register Here
Saturday, April 18th, 11 AM - 12 PM (ET): Register Here

For more information: Click Here
Denver Area Half-Day Retreat
The Space Between Us:
Strengthening Our Relationships for the Good of the World  
 June 20, 2020 (hopefully!)

For more information: https://www.lumunos.org/dahd
Have you considered a monthly donation?
Click the donate button to make a single donation
or set-up monthly giving. If planned giving is of interest, please contact dan@lumunos.org  about planned giving options.
Keep in Touch
Let us know what we can do for you.

Doug Wysockey-Johnson   doug@lumunos.org     
Dan Quinlan   dan@lumunos.org  
Rebecca Perry-Hill becca@lumunos.org