top of page
  • Writer's pictureJosh Wymore

1+1: Sadness brings joy + from hostility to hospitality

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

Hey there! Here’s one leadership idea and one resource I’ve found beneficial this week:

The characters from Pixar's Inside Out

1 idea: Sadness brings joy

In the Pixar movie Inside Out, a teenage girl named Riley is largely run by her emotion Joy. Joy wants Riley to be happy all the time, so she works to prevent any uncomfortable emotions (like Sadness, Anger, or Disgust) from dominating. But her plan fails. Riley gets into trouble, and Joy can’t get her out of it.

That’s when Sadness steps in and takes the helm. As Riley expresses her sadness, her parents see that she’s hurting. Rather than reject her because she’s not her normally joyful self, her parents surround her with love and acceptance, forging deep memories and conveying a life-changing sense of belonging. It’s a watershed moment for Riley and a light bulb moment for Joy. They both learn that Sadness is sometimes the precursor to Joy.

We’ve had our own sadness-to-joy moment recently. A few weeks ago, we discovered a water leak in our bathroom that led to mold and water damage in our home. After discovering the problem on a Sunday, we unexpectedly moved out two days later as repair work got underway. Since then, we’ve bounced between two hotels before landing at an Airbnb for what could be a few months. Oh, and my wife is eight months pregnant with our third child.

This turn of events could easily make us feel vulnerable and alone, but the opposite has been true. As friends in our community have learned about our unexpected mishap, they’ve come out of the woodwork to offer support—places to stay, meals to share, cash for any unforeseen needs. Thanks to God’s providence, good friends, and solid homeowner’s insurance (thank you, Nationwide!), all of our physical needs have been more than met.

While that material support has been helpful, our greatest treasure has been the deep sense of connection and support that we’ve felt. We know we’re not alone. We know we are loved. We know others have our back. In other words, our sadness has actually led to great joy.


What about you?

  • What needs are you trying to manage on your own right now?

  • Who in your community would love to stand with you during this season?

  • Are you willing to be vulnerable and allow others to help meet your needs?

1 resource: From hostility to hospitality

One of my favorite authors is a Dutch Catholic priest named Henri Nouwen. Nouwen was a world-famous theology professor at Harvard, Yale, and Notre Dame before stepping aside to care for the needs of disabled adults at a residential facility.

One of his best books, Reaching Out, argues that growing spiritually will require us to move from an attitude of hostility toward others to a mentality of hospitality. It's this same kind of hospitality that has been so life-giving for us.

If you haven't yet read Reaching Out, pick up a copy. It's so good!

You can find the book on Amazon or wherever books are sold.

Cover of Henri Nouwen's book Reaching Out

Note: If you purchase a book via the link above, we may receive a small commission (at zero cost to you).


bottom of page