It reveals what really matters to us
Cheer up! Put a smile on, be happy! We so easily imagine the good life to be a pain-free, sorrowless existence of wall to wall happiness. So, we seek to medicate, eradicate, or simply dodge sadness. Yet so often our sadness is a mood that amplifies the good and the beautiful. The loss of a loved one, the anguish at injustice, the heartache of empathy when others are hurt, all these are rendered more significant by our sadness. The loss of sensitivity to others, in fact, limits our ability to care. Sadness often reveals what really matters to us and highlights the intensity of our love. Simply walking through life carefree and happy suggests that we are not in touch with people or with the real issues of life in this world. It is a callous and unconcerned heart that remains unmoved by the plight of the planet or the challenges of community and society. Sad says we care.
Jesus wept – That says everything. God the Son is moved by the loss of a friend, the impact of grief on others, and the devastation of death, the very enemy he had come to vanquish.
Anne Lamott in her book “Bird by Bird” says “To truly be incarnate and alive in the world is to taste the bitterness as well as the sweetness of what is around us. If we let real-life affect us there will be times for tears”
You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.
Looking to Sunday
So “sad” is the emotion of the week. We will be looking together at John 11 and Jesus’s sorrow at the death of Lazarus.
Here are some questions to ponder as we look towards Sunday:
- What makes you sad and what does that tell you about what you care about?
- How can we integrate sadness into our Christian response to the world without simply becoming chronically morose?
You might like to watch Pixar’s brilliant “Inside out” film to explore the tension between “happy” and “sad”.