Sing praises to the Beloved,
O you saints,
and give thanks to Love's holy Name.
Love withdraws when we close our hearts,
yet ever awaits an open door.
Through the night we may weep,
yet joy comes with the morning.
In my prosperity, I had lost sight
I found power in my wealth.
In your mercy, O Beloved, my foundations
And, in recognizing my separation
I was dismayed.
And You turned my mourning into dancing;
You set me free and
clothed me with gladness.
Now my soul may praise You and not be silent.
O my Beloved, I will be grateful to You
forever and ever.
We’ll get to the joy, but first, think about the last time you wept all night.
To weep all night, that’s a deep loss. Death of immediate family. End of a marriage. Terrible lab results.
Maybe you don’t cry much – maybe you remember staying up all night talking to your spouse: a job loss or your child getting arrested, or one of you getting a terminal diagnosis, and all night you sat up talking, wondering, “what do we do now?”
Maybe you’re on your own or you’re a private person – have you spent a night reeling from a terrible loss, writing in a journal, or walking dark streets, wondering alone, “what do I do now?”
Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning, says the Psalmist. Do you think, if you can cry hard enough, you can work out all your grief in one night?
Joy comes with the morning, says the psalmist, but the sun doesn’t come up all at once, it shines first as a hint around the curve of the earth and appears to us in a pink glow and orange haze. We see the sunrise before the sun itself appears. The morning comes not with a clock’s tik or tok, but gradually.
The day is light before we can see. First gray, then yellow, then trees and houses appear. Similarly, we know hope before we can live into it. We know hope because we read it in our Psalms: You have turned my mourning into dancing, you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.
We know hope because we have suffered through all kinds of heartaches and loss, and we have healed from most of them. Knowing that hope is real helps, but until we can live in hope, it’s only as useful as the sun before it rises. A promise of joy, but we’re not feeling joy yet.
We can’t speed up the sunrise, but we can help hope become real for ourselves and one another. Just like night and day overlap in that haze of dawn, our grief and our joy overlap, when we tell the stories that break our hearts and break our hearts open. My friends whose 9-year-old daughter died of cancer many years ago tell stories about her with joy. But in the first few years after she died, talking about her was both necessary for their survival, and painful each time. Each story broke their hearts, but broke their hearts open, so they could keep the love alive, even keep her alive in their storytelling.
“Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning!” Proclaims the Psalmist. “You have turned my mourning into dancing!” Look at the words in your Bible if you’re reading along, or picture them in your mind. Joy comes with the morning. You have turned my mourning into dancing. That little letter u!