As laughter and tears collide

Our hearts are as heavy as they are light,* and it feels contradictory–a great paradox. But who hasn’t laughed through tears or felt their highs mix in with their lows?

This weekend I cried tears of sadness intermingled with tears of joy. Laughs were indistinguishable from the few sobs that escaped my pursed lips. Memories brought on floods of emotions from opposing sides and met in a wave that threatened to knock me over. And it’s hard to reconcile the highest of highs existing simultaneously with the lowest of lows. It feels like the existence of one should diminish the substance of the other–like the smiles mean I don’t feel the grief, or the tears mean I don’t cherish the memories.

But what if the existence of both further substantiates the other? What is joy, if we have no sadness to contrast it with; and what is redemption, if we see no brokenness from which we yearn to be redeemed?

I’ve felt grief and laughter that falls hollowed out and empty. I’ve seen death. I’ve seen the grave. And through it all, I’ve seen a hope that’s stronger.

It’s a hope that does not trivialize my grief, but a hope that is substantiated by its existence. It’s a hope that creates in me a deeper longing than ever before, because…

I now know for what it is I hope.
I hope for no more crippling pain, no more tears, no more despair, and no more death.
I hope for redemption of our broken bodies and our sinful pasts.

And it’s not a trivial wish–a “that would be nice”–but a deep longing for a Savior and a heavy realization that I am in a world that needs to be saved.

It’s looking into the grave of a man I love and clinging to the hope that this is not the end. It’s seeing cancer and sickness and pain and looking expectantly to a day when our weakness will be no more.

My father spoke this Saturday at my grandfather’s memorial service and declared that this is not a “hope that” or a “hope so,” but a confident expectation. This hope is faith–true faith, grounded faith–the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen.

It’s a hope founded on promises that have been fulfilled and lives that have been changed. It’s founded on glimpses of redemption, reconciliation and transformation–in my own life and the lives of those I love.

So this hope is not trivial. It’s not a fairy tale or a shallow illusion. If despair, depression and death are real, I hold that hope is real even more.

I looked into the grave of a man I loved this weekend, but I have the confidence that I will see him again. Because while I know the pain of death and suffering, I know the joy and the promises of the One who overcame the grave. I know that in this world, he promised tribulation. But I also know that he told me to take heart, for He has overcome the world.

I know that nothing can separate us from the love that is in Christ Jesus–not death nor life nor things present nor things to come, nor anything in all of creation.

And I know that one day my hope will find its confident expectation fulfilled, because:
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Though tears will fall, though grief is real, my voice cries hallelujah for the hope of heaven and the day when all will be made new.


See you soon, grandpa.







*Heavy and light is an idea I heard first from To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) at their recent Heavy and Light show. It was an amazing show by an organization I admire.

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5 thoughts on “As laughter and tears collide

  1. Bill Watkins says:

    Rebekah, I met you fourteen years ago at your fathers church in Gilroy, and was impressed how bright of a young girl you were, the loving message you posted of your grandfather is totally awesome, I pray that you will continue to walk and shine before others as you do in your parents eyes. God Bless Bill Watkins

  2. June Barron says:

    Rebekah, that was a very beautiful letter filled with much admiration and love for your Grandfather. Its amazing when you have such a special relationship with your Grandparents. As I too have had that in my life. I completely understand. It brought back great memories for me as I lost my Gram Aug 28 2013, she was 94. What great memories and even beyond such special people that taught us things and the amount of love shared between grand kids and grandparents in unexplainable. If your blessed to have had the priviledge to have such a closeness. I love that you got to be with your Grandpa. This is pretty special and I am sure that is exactly the way he wanted it. May your memories last you a lifetime and heres to eternity. We will see our love ones again… God bless you Sweet Rebekah. Your a loving grandaughter. I remember when I 1st meet you. I cried to you about my son and you and Your DAD prayed for me in the hall. That meant a lot to me and I will never forget how wonderful I felt that you and your Dad humbly cared. love June Barron

    • Rebekah says:

      June, thank you so much for your honest and loving words! It means a lot to have you share your life with me. The memories are definitely such a blessing and give us even more to look forward to after this life. And I love Calvary Chapel Santa Cruz. I had only been to the church a few times when I met you, but when I come back I always feel so loved. I love that it’s a family who is loved and loves back in return. God has blessed my family greatly by you and the rest of our church family in Santa Cruz.

  3. Enriqueta Valencia says:

    Rebekah, I just happened to read your blog, Feb 5 2014. It is a well-written contrast between gain and loss, love and sorrow, presence and departure of a loved one. The sadness still lingers, but we have hope in the promise of our Lord, Jesus Christ. He has all the answers to our every need. All we need is to believe and hope in Him. We love you! Pray that He will be with you in whatever you do, wherever you are. Hugs, love and prayers from all of us.

    – Grandma V.

    (Typed by Jeremy. šŸ™‚ )

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