By Sarah Spradlin

 

I feel it,

a certain heaviness in my heart

as I’m making my way home one evening.

Joy and Sorrow are very nearly always together,

are very nearly always mine to hold—

every mountaintop

and every valley:

my story.

The way we laughed after we talked about the wars we’ve fought

reminds me that Joy—

impossibly—

is strong enough to lift up Sorrow,

never once shaming sweet Sorrow for how heavy she might be.

Joy is gentle because she wants Sorrow to still feel loved.

Even in her levity, Joy, in all her kindness, knows

she will never force Sorrow to become someone she’s not.

Joy is patient enough to listen to the stories that Sorrow will only tell with time,

never smothers her voice with empty positivity,

never drives her into silence with misguided comparison and

“Well, at least it’s not” and

“It could be worse.”

Despite their differences, Joy, with immense respect for Sorrow,

makes sure Sorrow feels at home at her side:

not a problem to be solved but a friend to be heard.

When they stop along the road,

when the tears finally come,

Joy never forces Sorrow to move on but, gently,

asks how she might start to walk again.

Joy does not leave Sorrow alone.

Joy knows that it is Sorrow who makes her possible.

It’s the valleys that lead to mountaintops.

It’s the darkness that leads to the light.

Joy, holding up Sorrow, is the feeling of the first leaves pushing into winter,

while the air is still cold and bitter but, somehow,

no longer as certain as before.

Joy knows that winter will come again,

but she looks forward to summer anyway.

Joy knows that things were never meant to be this way—

that things were never meant to die.

She knows that one day Sorrow’s heart will be healed.

As the old song goes,

“Mourning will turn to dancing.”

Joy, who already knows in her own heart her second name:

Hope,

also knows that Sorrow will on that day change her name, too.

How beautifully she’ll smile

while every scar and wrinkle fall away

as she declares to the world in a symphony of a sentence,

“I go by Peace now.”

And Joy,

as she has all along,

will take Peace’s hand and say,

“Let’s go together.”

This time, Peace will lead the way.

 


Sarah grew up in Georgia with her mom, dad, and little sister, Merry. She attended the University of Georgia, where she majored in International Affairs and Agriscience Environmental Systems. After graduating in 2019, Sarah took a job working alongside small-holder farmers in Chinandega, Nicaragua as a missionary with Amigos for Christ. She loves telling the story of the global farmer and nerding out about how nature works. Sarah has been homeschooled, private schooled, and public schooled, graduating from the Madison County High School in 2015. She lived in Costa Rica for seven months, and even hung out in Panama for a few days. She’ll read pretty much anything and has tried her hand at almost every kind of writing, though she likes poetry best. (Although fiction books are making a surprise now-that-I’ve-graduated-from-college-I-have-time-to-read-again comeback.) But because writing bios is a struggle, if you really want to get to know Sarah, shove some words in her general direction on her Instagram @sarah.spradlin or email her at sarah.beth.spradlin@gmail.com.

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