I am really liking Sue Monk Kidd’s book, When the Heart Waits, which describes her spiritual journey. There’s a passage on pathos and joy which basically plays on one of the key themes for my blog, gravity and levity (p. 98-99):

… I was reminded that laughter is soulmaking too, that no matter how dark and serious a crisis seems, I shouldn’t abandon my joy. That small human moment … caused me to consider the paradox of pathos and joy in the midst of crisis. Could they coexist?

…Eckhart wrote that God laughed into our soul, bringing us joy. He also believed that God suffered. I had no problem with his suffering. It seemed to me that many times when I was crying, I heard God crying too.  Perhaps … I needed to listen to God laughing.

I once saw a painting of Christ laughing. It touched me deeply. The “man of sorrows” was also the laughing Christ– a man in touch with both the ground of creative suffering and the ground of deep gladness. The most endearing verse in the Bible, to me, is “Jesus wept.” He knew about tears and pain, yet he also exulted in the festival as being fully alive.

Standing as I was, in the passage of crisis and separation, I needed to grasp the paradox that while soulmaking can be fraught with tears, it doesn’t require the abandonment of joy. After all, nothing is so painful that laughter can’t shimmer through it now and then….

In the crisis, we need to hang onto God’s little jokes, to those priceless moments when something round with pleasure bounces upon us. We need to hold onto the celebration of becoming, to the bliss that wells up from the deeper places we’re tapping.