Saturday 6 April

 9Lament and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection.

10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

It is curious that my schedule of ponderings on James should bring up this lugubrious reading for my contemplation this morning. I am reading these words on one of the days in the year that, for me and my family, is always a day of celebration and  great thanksgiving.

On 6 April 1954 far away in Philadelphia a brand new little life came into the world. After her father died, she and her mother drove across North America to relocate their lives to the West coast of Canada. That little girl grew up into a beautiful, authentic, young woman with a contagious zest for life and truth. In 1974, at university, she stumbled across a morose young man, whose zest for life needed a little boost.

We were married in 1977 and have travelled together ever since. So, 6 April is not a day in my life to “lament and mourn and weep.” It is a day to give thanks and celebrate. But, as I rejoice in 45 years (42 of them as husband and wife) spent with this wonderful woman, I know that we have together walked through times when the only appropriate response was to “lament and mourn and weep.”

The love we have shared has not sheltered us from suffering. We have watched as the world seemed to be on the edge of bleeding to death.  We have seen darkness, chaos, and suffering in peoples’ lives that felt as if it might extinguish all light and hope. We have struggled within ourselves with dark forces that felt as if the only appropriate response was to “lament and mourn and weep.”

But over the years we have come to know a reality deeper than any pain. The suffering that is an inevitable part of life, has never defeated the power of love, that brought together a young woman from Philadelphia and a young man from across the continent to share their lives for over four decades. It has been a humbling journey. And, as we have been humbled by the struggles we have shared, no matter how much darkness there may have been, we have been raised up and made strong and whole together. There is much to rejoice in!