It’s how Bono described U2’s half-time performance at the Super Bowl just months after 9/11.
In other words, the collision of pain and celebration.
In fact, the conscious choice to instigate their collision.
It was a more-than-delicate commission. Providing “entertainment” in one of the most widely-watched TV events of the year after the heart of the nation had just been ripped apart.
As my husband and I were watching this look back on 50 years of super bowl halftime shows we happened upon, I was drawn to Bono’s notion of defiant joy. Of course I had to over-analyze it, too, namely because the good girl in me feels a bit uncomfortable with the word, defiant. Compliant has always been the style I’ve worn, although don’t worry. God’s starting to show me that it doesn’t suit my soul well.
And so the over-analyzing ensued:
What's that mean, defiant joy?
What's it look like from a heart stand-point?
Who or what would I be defiant against amidst pain?
And is that okay?? . . .
I know in my head that joy and sorrow aren’t mutually exclusive, at least I have since my old pastor enlightened me several years ago. (Phenomenal message, by the way. Listen to it!) But I don’t do it well, the whole joy-while-grieving thing. I tend to eeyore my pain, at least internally. Not to mention it feels fake and contrived. Even dishonest because it’s not an accurate reflection of my feelings.
Many years ago, I had a very distinctive opportunity to make joy and pain collide – or not. During the spring of my senior year in high school, just a day or two before my Senior Prom, my Pop-pop passed away. His funeral? Prom Day.
That is, it’s not about me.
“This swallowing the richness of living,
it comes in letting yourself be blessed.
Letting yourself be loved.”
Of course that conveniently appeases the good girl in me because when you put it like that, it’s not so defiant, after all! Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m not lookin’ to continue appeasing her because she’s got a lot of growing up to do. That being said, our Father, the Creator and Embodiment of perfect parental love – at times, He accommodates. And even coddles. (Still shocks me.) So apparently, there’s grace enough for the good girl who still lingers.