Children’s birthdays are really happy occasions. The joy of them opening their presents and cards fills their home. But for their sibling it is often a challenging moment. As they learn the art of sharing in the other’s happiness. They don’t have presents to open or cards to read or money to count as it falls out of the cards. They just sit there learning to ‘oooh and ahhhh’ with joyful noise grateful for the opportunity of being happy for their loved ones happiness.
Do you know this learning experience as an adult? When a work colleague gets promotion but you don’t? When your friend finds the lover that you don’t have? Can you find such generosity of heart that you can be happy in their happiness?
It applies for the negative too.
I was standing in a field of volcanic rock in the civil war of DRC listening to a woman tell me that she had lost count of how many times the soldiers had raped her over the 5 months of her capture and she had truly lost everything and every person in her world. Tears began to fall. Not from the lady but from me. Real tears. The Holy Spirit was taking me on a journey into the generosity of heart where we learn how to cry with strangers. These are the tears of God for the suffering.
We should spend more time in the moment with people. To feel what they feel, to see what they see, to get into their position and perspective, to get into their shoes and under their skin.
We sometimes bypass the person to get to the cause of their celebration or the root of their problem, we want to analyse, justify, dissect the situation to best help. But perhaps the greatest help is to sit with the person (as Job’s friends did when they didn’t say a word for 7 days but just got into his space) or we dance with them (as Jesus did when the disciples returned from a successful missions trip).
This is the inspirational short sentence from the Apostle Paul: “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15
Let’s be present more. In the moment. Occupy the space of emotion.
Rejoice with those who rejoice even when they are receiving what you have always wanted.
Rejoice with those who rejoice even when you don’t think it is deserving.
Rejoice with those who rejoice even when it only exposes your own lack.
Mourn with those who mourn even when they are getting their just deserts.
Mourn with those who mourn even when you cannot see the reason for their sadness.
Mourn with those who mourn even when you want to rage, fight and campaign for their cause.
Enter into happiness for those who are happy and learn tears for those who are suffering.
“Holy Spirit lead us”
Be there. Dance. Sit. No words.