This latest act of violence has hit me hard.
I don’t know if it’s that it’s the third one in this most recent string of events, or if it’s because my own brother lives in Texas.
But as I sit here, with tears in my eyes, not even coming close to understanding the devastation, shock, loss, anger, sadness, loneliness and so many other feelings that the people in that church, the people in Sutherland Springs and their loved ones are feeling right now.
If I can’t make sense of it, how can they?
While we mourn together, I am reminded of something I heard Brené Brown say. I’m sure she wasn’t the first to say this and I know she won’t be the last:
With so much pain. With so many actions that we just cannot comprehend.
JOY MATTERS. More than ever.
As Brené so eloquently puts it in Braving the Wilderness, you may be thinking to yourself,
“Why am I working so hard to decorate my son’s birthday cupcakes like cute little Despicable Me minions when there are so many Syrian children starving to death? What difference do these stupid cupcakes really make?
They matter because joy matters.”
Why am I enjoying the comradery of attending a football game at my alma mater while so many people have lost their lives? What difference does this stupid football game really make?
It matters because joy matters.
She goes on to say,
“Whether you’re a full-time activist or a volunteer at your mosque or local soup kitchen, most of us are showing up to ensure that people’s basic needs are met and their civil rights are upheld.
But we’re also working to make sure that everyone gets to experience what brings meaning to life: love, belonging, and joy.
These are essential, irreducible needs for all of us.
And we can’t give people what we don’t have.
We can’t fight for what’s not in our hearts.
…the key to joy is practicing gratitude.”
Brené goes on to talk about people she has worked with who have experienced horrific trauma. People like those impacted by the heart wrenching events in Sutherland Springs. She shared that what she’s learned from them and her extensive research:
“When you are grateful for what you have, I know you understand the magnitude of what I have lost…
…that when we surrender our own joy to make those in pain feel less alone or to make ourselves feel less guilty or seem more committed, we deplete ourselves to what it takes to feel fully alive and fueled by purpose.”
Instead of guilt, express gratitude.
In the midst of sadness, do something to bring someone joy.
That’s what we are all called to bring to the world today.
ACKNOWLEDGE SOMETHING YOU ARE GRATEFUL FOR.
And let someone know. Share your gratitude.
FIND A WAY TO BRING JOY TO SOMEONE.
The smallest gestures can move mountains.
Pass it on.
Share this message with a friend, a family member, a stranger.
Keep the joy and gratitude flowing.