A friend of mine posted the following quote on Facebook:

We learn as much from sorrow as from joy, as much from illness as from health, from handicap as from advantage and indeed perhaps more. ~ Pearl S. Buck

Indeed perhaps more. Not even perhaps. This quote struck me, and stuck with me. It is easy to be joyful when you live a life of advantage and good health. Just as it is easy to be sorrowful when you are struggling with an illness or handicap. Yet there are lessons to be learned from both joy and sorrow – and the lessons we learn from our sorrows are often the most meaningful. Why is that?

I believe it is because when we are struggling, or sorrow-filled, we have little to lean on except for what really matters: our faith, our family, our friendships. And when we focus on what is most meaningful in our lives, we are given the strength to deal with our trials, to embrace the struggles and to find meaning in our suffering. Does it make it go away? No. Does it make it more bearable? Yes. Sorrow gives us the opportunity to focus on our faith and core values. Joyfulness does too, but it is easy to be faith-filled in times of joy; it is harder to be faith-filled in times of sorrow.

I struggled. I was not always faith-filled during my times of sorrow. But I was surrounded by my family, my friends, and a faith that embraced me and showed me how to live life with a grateful heart, a faith-filled heart. A joyful heart: That’s what I learned during my time of sorrow, illness and handicap.