Joy, Gratitude and Grief:Israel,War and Gaza

Joy, Gratitude and Grief:Israel,War and Gaza May 30, 2024

Triad of Human Experience,  and A Complex World

Life’s journey is made up of a rainbow of emotions, each one helping shape our existence in profound ways. Among these, joy, gratitude, and grief are essential to our everyday living, they are deeeply connected and aid us in understanding the world.

These days, the world has gotten very hard to understand. Moments of joy and gratitude help carry me through the many waves of grief. The massacre of October 7th still echoes. One hundred and twenty-five hostages still haven’t come home. Innocent souls in Gaza and Israel are filled with the pains of war. Antisemitism is on the rise and spreading. For me, it seems like every day is a triad of human experience.

The Depth of Grief

Grief is an intense and  and predetermined part of the human experience. It meets up with us when loss has entered our soul – whether of a loved one, a cherished dream, or a significant life change. A cherished dream for peace had dimmed; I lost a dear friend, and my life underwent a significant change. Overnight, I had to shift from being a pro-democracy activist against the Netanyahu government to a volunteer for the family forum for hostages. Grief is often accompanied by pain and sorrow, differing from from joy and gratitude. However, it also may allow for moments of transformation. Grieving allows us to process our losses, acknowledge where we are powerless, and  find a path to better moments. We learn to hold grief when she visits. Grief  can teach us   the value of what was and  a greater appreciation for what is.


The Power of Gratitude

My practice as a spiritual counselor has equipped me with the tool of gratitude practice. I knew I needed to hold gratitude close by to get through the tough times. I organized my immediate family to be gratitude buddies. Our family WhatsApp group would fill up daily with individual expressions of gratefulness. Gratitude is the act of recognizing and appreciating the good in our lives. It can help change our perspective, even if just for a moment. Practicing gratitude reminds us of what we have blessed with. This practice can significantly enhance our well-being, increasing resilience. By cultivating gratitude, we create a mental space that nurtures good moments. And good moments are contagious.

Woman at Hostage Square in Tel-Aviv
Photo-Varda Spiegal-A Light of Hope in Hostage Square


And Then There is Joy

Joy was a bit harder for me to meet up with. I called to her with patience until she showed up, even if just for a moment. Grief does not keep joy away forever. As the song “Hey Joy” (which I wrote and Shira composed and sings) so sweetly conveys, joy like the beautiful view from a mountain top, is the peak of positive emotions, a burst of delight that uplifts our spirits. It manifests in various forms; for each one of us, joy shows up uniquely. She is not merely a fleeting feeling but a state of being in a moment. One that can ground us and aid us in holding the grief that has become part of our story.

Holding hands
Hands of Compassion-Photo Carl Rickard



The Triad of Emotions

Almost eight months later, I continue to persist in finding ways to bring the hostages home, including Keith Siegel, my dear friend’s brother. I advocate for a ceasefire and ending the suffering of all people in Israel and Gaza. I am out campaigning to bring down the Netanyahu government.

Joy, gratitude, and grief are constantly found in the mixture of my moments.  They are connected, in a complex way nevertheless connected. Joy and gratitude often appear side by side, each boosting the other. A joyful moment becomes more profound when we feel grateful for it. A grateful heart is more likely to experience joy. Grief, on the other hand, can deepen our capacity for both joy and gratitude. . The interaction of joy, gratitude, and grief reminds us of the beauty and complexity of our emotional landscape, all of which are part of the wonderful story of who we are.


 I am creator of the “Morning Inspiration” series, which provides readers with reflections and thoughts to start their day with a positive outlook.

 If you feel the calling to receive it you can do so here

You can listen to the new song  I wrote HEYJOY, sung and composed by Shira.

This song is dedicated to Vivian Silver, my dear friend who was a victim of Kibbutz Beer’i attack on Oct 7th



About Susan P. Lax
When one of Susan’s closest friends was fighting cancer and had to focus on trying to heal, they didn’t speak as often as they once did. To make sure Stephanie knew that Susan was always thinking of her each day, Susan emailed her friend a healing, positive thought first thing in the morning. Slowly, Susan discovered an ability to translate her heart words into written ones and more and more people began to receive Susan’s “Morning Inspiration” which is from where her book, A HEART’S LANDSCAPE, derived. Right now, especially with all happening in the world, Susan offers deep reminders with words and warm visuals – to take a moment and just pause – get away from the inundation and put the chaos away. Susan’s heart words and inspiring visuals guide readers to take a moment and escape all adversity and focus on carving out one joyful moment with the hope that it will lead to other good moments. You can read more about the author here.
"Very insightful article, thanks!"

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