Celebration and sorrow: Such is life

Today’s date is Monday, Oct. 17 in the year of our Lord 2022. And so it is with great joy that I wish you a very happy Bosses Day.

Though the day will have passed by the time you read this, I’m sure you celebrated with great gusto and enthusiasm.

Here at the offices of First Baptist Church, my office czar, as we call her, brought me a box of doughnuts in recognition of this most august of occasions. She seriously remembers and celebrates all days and occasions related to various team members. She is the best kind of extra.

Perhaps Bosses Day doesn’t do anything for you. That’s OK. There are several other reasons to celebrate throughout the week. Oct. 18 is National Chocolate Cupcake Day. Oct. 19 is Hagfish Day because who doesn’t want to celebrate the ugliest fish in existence? Oct. 20 is National Chicken and Waffles Day. Oct. 21 is National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day. Oct. 22 is National Make a Difference Day. And Oct. 23 is National Mother-in-Law Day.

If none of those work for you, have no fear. There are actually multiple official reasons to celebrate on each of these days. If you go to nationalcalendarday.com, you will find a list of numerous days of celebration and remembrance from which you can choose. You can even select the various days and the website will provide you with information about what is being celebrated or remembered on that day. Every day we draw breath, there are reasons to celebrate.

Unfortunately, life is not all balloons and pastries. Even as we celebrate, we are regularly confronted by sorrow and struggle. The entire month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Friday, Oct. 21 is National Mammography Day. Who among us can’t think of at least one friend or family member who is fighting or has fought the fight against cancer? Who among us hasn’t mourned the loss of a loved one from cancer or any other cause for that matter?

And while cancer and loss of life are on the extreme end of the sorrow spectrum, it is a good placeholder for the difficulties and hardships we all face.

The simple truth of life is that on any given day, while some have reason to celebrate, others are filled with sorrow. We live in the constant tension of success and struggle, happiness and heartache, celebration and sorrow. As the old Gregorian chant states, “Media vita in morte sumus,” which in English means, “In the midst of life, we are in death.” Not to be flippant or dismissive, but such is life.

The Bible addresses this reality and makes room for both. In Romans 12:15, we are instructed, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (ESV).

Moment by moment, person by person, we must be aware of these polar twins, celebration and sorrow, and we must act in keeping with the needs of those God puts in our path. Sometimes, we get the privilege of celebrating the joys of life. And I think it is a good practice to consistently look for even the littlest things to celebrate, like chocolate cupcakes, hagfish and chicken and waffles. To paraphrase the Bible, we should celebrate with those who celebrate.

But we must be aware of the burdens that those around us are bearing. We, like Job’s friends in the book that bears his name, must be willing to join them in the dust and ashes. While we may not know what they’re going through, we can let them know we know they’re going through it. We may not be able to remove the hurt and heartache, but we can at least remove the loneliness by letting them know we hurt for them.

I’ve been very aware of all of the national days of celebration in recent months. It seems there is no end to what we can and will celebrate as a society. And while I may not be on board with every item on the list, I think there is great value in seeing the good in life and celebrating whenever we can.

While we do, we must not neglect those who are hurting. May we continue to look for reasons to celebrate and make space to sit with those who have sorrow because such is life.

The Rev. Jeremy Myers is the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Seymour. Read his blog at jeremysmyers.com. Send comments to [email protected].