The Harsh Winters of Life

Written By Margaret W. Jones

Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning. --Psalm 30:5

When we are in the midst of grief and deep sadness, it is so hard to believe that we can ever feel joy again.  The writer of Psalm 30 does not mean to deny or belittle the great sorrow that leads to weeping.  The Psalmist knew, probably from experience, that when we are flooded with tears, when despair is close at hand, it does no good to be told that "everything will be all right."

Albert Camus wrote, "The harshest winter finds in us an invincible spring."  I kept that sentence very close to me when I was in a 'night of weeping' some years ago.  I appreciated the reality Camus acknowledged: harshness, winter.  Somehow it comforted me to know that someone else had shared what I felt was real. I know now, of course, that at one time or another we all have our 'harshest winters,' but at that time I was ashamed of my constant sadness, and I tried to pretend that I was really okay.

Once I was able to stop pretending and simply live into my grief and despair, I began to experience the first signs of the “invincible spring” Camus writes about.  Gradually, and with the loving and constant support of friends, I came out into the light, and the lightness, of new beginnings.  I will never forget that time; I learned a great deal from it.  One of those lessons is that, as hard as it is to believe at the time, "Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes in the morning."

God's ways are not our ways.  We cannot change some things, and often we cannot understand why terrible things happen.  Grief and despair are very real to us all at some point in our lives.  May we hold onto the loving perspective and deep wisdom of this psalm.

Almighty and most merciful God, when we are in the midst of things we cannot understand, help us hold fast to the hope that joy will come to us, perhaps in a way that is better than anything we can imagine.  Amen.