Yesterday, I had a moment of profound sadness that wasn't directly connected to anything in particular---just a feeling that came over me that was accompanied by deep emotions and a rush of mental images.
I found myself grieving all my losses at once, and was filled with a longing that I couldn't describe, even to myself.
It didn't help that I'd been listening to a bunch of sad, haunting music all morning, or that the sun was shining in a certain way on the trees and flower beds in my back yard, or that I saw a cardinal on my birdfeeder...
Any one of those things could have triggered me all by their lonesome, but altogether it was kind of overwhelming and awesome all at the same time. I decided not to fight it, (which has never really gotten me anywhere, anyway) so I just let it all in.
Sadness is often a part of my life, but I am trying to learn from it, rather than be overcome by it. Some days that's easier said than done, but I feel like I'm finding my way, slowly but surely.
Maybe you or someone you know is struggling with sadness right now. Maybe you can't explain it or put your finger directly on the cause right away. And maybe you're fighting it, trying to distract yourself from it, or choosing to ignore it as best you can.
Trust me on this, that sadness will find its way out if you are trying to suppress it, and it most likely will emerge in really unhealthy ways like anger, deep depression, or any number of self-destructive behaviors.
Fr. Richard Rohr offers this bit of advice:
I do believe that the only way out of deep sadness is to go with it and through it... Almost all people are carrying a great and secret hurt, even when they don't know it.
If we don't let the sadness in and then move through it, it can weigh us down, twist our hearts and minds, and can keep us from becoming the people God dreams for us to be.
As I pondered this particular devo today, I kept coming back to the story of Jesus attending the funeral of his friend Lazarus, who he would eventually raise from the dead in a dramatic fashion (think The Mummy).
Jesus knows how the story is going to end (with resurrection), but in the midst of the grief of his friends, he becomes overcome with emotion and sadness. The shortest verse in the Bible sums up the situation: Jesus wept.
The fact that Jesus lets the sadness in for a moment is so incredibly comforting to me.
It gives me hope to know that the Eternal, Universal Christ, the 2nd Person of the Trinity, the Logos, the one we call Emmanuel--God with us... knows what it's like to feel sadness, and then go with it and through it...
And it should you, too.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.