cover image The Gravity of Joy: A Story of Being Lost and Found

The Gravity of Joy: A Story of Being Lost and Found

Angela Williams Gorrell. Eerdmans, $21.99 (245p) ISBN 978-0-8028-7794-9

Pastor and theologian Gorrell (Always On) poignantly conveys in this heartfelt reflection the effects of grief and implores readers to seek out joy even during times of sorrow, fear, or anger. Gorrell had been researching the ways Christian theology conceives of and facilitates joy when her father, nephew, and the husband of her cousin all died within a month. As Gorrell struggled through her “weeks of hell,” her research into happiness seemed implausible; yet she eventually learned that “joy is what we feel deep in our bones when we realize and feel connected to what is good, beautiful, meaningful.” After signing up to lead a prison Bible study for women, Gorrell learned from her students how honesty, empathy, and humility enabled them to make amends for past mistakes and open up to God’s plan for their future. Gorrell chronicles her interactions with the women in her study, illustrating the connections between despair, addiction, and suicidal thinking, while offering insight on joy as a prescription: “When joy finds us, we need to express it deeply and freely... joy is counteragent to despair.” Gorrell’s therapeutic message provides a healing balm that will resonate with any Christian. (Apr.)