"Man Is More Manlike . . ."

The view from here.

While reading a book over the holidays, I came across this quote by G. K. Chesterton that has continued to stay with me: 

Man is more himself, man is more manlike, when joy is the fundamental thing in him, and grief the superficial.

— G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

I’ve known quite a bit of grief in my life. 

Some of those griefs are more obvious than others. Some made pricks with the tiniest pin at the time they grazed me, almost without my noticing, until the pain of it came cascading down in a torrent fifteen or twenty years later. 

For many, many years, such grief and pain were the major themes of my story. 

But that isn’t the case anymore.

I give full credit to the healing work of Christ’s love in my life for that. (I wrote about one of those threads of healing that happened in my life 10 years ago on the blog for Spring Arbor’s graduate program earlier this week.)

Here is something true.

There was a time I couldn’t fathom telling my story any other way than through its prism of pain. But I’ve since learned there is completely new and free and joy-filled life on the other side of sorrow, when we are met in the honest depths of our pain with love.

Such love brings about a life that eventually makes the pain small. It is a love that eventually helps us know joy as the main thing, and grief as the minor. 

Can you relate to either sides of this story — living inside the depths of grief, or emerging on the other side of it into healing’s joy? What have you learned through either experience?