I wholeheartedly and fervently believe in finding joy, even in times of trial and heartache, but I equally and very strongly believe in taking time to grieve and mourn. And I believe the two can happen at the same time.
You see, joy, by my definition, is not a feeling or an emotion, but a way of living and viewing the world around us. Sadness and happiness are emotions-- they come and go for everyone, regardless of our current situations. Every day we feel varying degrees of these emotions as part of this human experience.
But joy... Joy is so much more! Even in times of devastating trials, when sorrow is all we can feel, and the burdens of this life weigh heavily on our broken hearts, we can still find joy and live a joyful life. That's because joy is a choice that includes faith in God's perfect plan and in the truth that the heart wrenching trials we face are somehow for our good. Joy is seeing something bigger and greater than what is happening in the present and allowing that larger perspective to bring peace to our current pain. Joy is the hope that all things will be made right someday and that nothing we face now will last forever. Joy is getting back up and trying over and over again. It's continuing to give our all, no matter how small our "all" is at times. It's looking at our sorrow and brokenness with the perspective that God will somehow heal and mend us as we trust in Him. And joy is taking time to be thankful for what we do have, despite not having some things we desperately seek.
Today I am mourning for the many people in my life facing difficult, heartbreaking trials right now. My quest to find joy in all things will never mean not feeling sorrow for others. It will never mean holding back tears when someone else is hurting. And it will certainly never mean telling someone to simply "have more faith" or "just remember the bigger picture" when their world has crumbled beneath their feet.
I know, with time, that God will take all the sorrow this life has to offer and turn it into something beautiful. I know that the Savior of the World knows what my friends feel and how to succor and comfort them, and that He most definitely will wrap my friends in the warmth of His loving embrace. But that doesn't mean I can't feel sadness with others as they face disappointments and tragedies. Today I am finding joy in taking time to feel and mourn with others.