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Lenten Meditation : Being a Joy to Others


These are excerpts from a January 7 New York Times column by David French (“A Terrible Phone Call and What Came Next”), describing what happened after his wife’s cancer diagnosis.


“Imagine how much harder … any fight would be if you fought it alone. …. Ever since the deep darkness of that November phone call, Nancy and I have experienced countless bursts of light shining through, each one coming through the love and care from other people….. And with each act of kindness and expression of concern… the darkness recedes further.  There is no comparison between the state of our hearts now and their state when we first received Nancy’s grim news.


The reason for our revival is rooted in a profound truth …captured by an old Swedish proverb: “Shared joy is double joy. Shared sorrow is half sorrow.”  The key word …. is shared.  You don’t just tell me the reason for your sorrow or joy, and I don’t just listen. The word “shared” implies participation. In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul tells believers to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.”


Mr. French says that “those of us who have been blessed in this way must bless others in return.”  My family and I have been extremely blessed in this way in the last year with an experience like that of Mr. and Mrs. French. I pray that I will never forget those blessings, or the truth that being a joy to others sometimes means sharing a sorrow.


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