There, I’ve admitted it. I’ve been sad for a while and resisted blogging about it, but the more I thought about it, I realized some of you might be sad, too. So here you go: it’s okay to be sad.
Sadness is not depression. I know depression, though not well, and I know it comes on like a thunderstorm and hangs overhead without rhyme or reason. I know depression is often due to things beyond our control (like hormones and brain chemistry), and when I’m occasionally depressed I can’t even figure out why. Depression is the blues, it’s the blahs, and it’s hard to shake off.
But sadness . . . that condition results because something or someone is doing/has done something that evokes sadness in us. I’m not going into my reasons for my sadness (some things, after all, are too personal to publish even on a personal blog), and it’s hard enough to admit that sadness exists in an otherwise perfectly contented life.
The other day I watched HAIRSPRAY, the movie, and as it opened, the main character came out singing a song. The gist of it was “Hello, beautiful day, I’m ready for an adventure,” and I gaped at the actress with a feeling of deja vu. I used to feel exactly like that. In high school and even into college, I was one of those googly-eyed, eternally optimistic people who loves life and really doesn’t feel sad about much.
Then I began to experience life. And, as I was reading this morning, I learned that “Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us.” (Ecc. 7:3).
How nice . . . I’m being refined. :-/ And here I thought that was for snooty girls in finishing schools.
I don’t want pity, though I would be grateful for a few prayers. My faith has never been stronger and my marriage is great. I’m not suicidal and I’m not depressed. I’m able to put my sadness on a shelf and do my work and write happy stories and pepper my emails with smiley faces.
But the sadness is there, just beneath the surface, cresting and retreating like waves on a shore.
Today one of my characters said something I’ve been thinking, and we stopped and wept together. Me and Gerald, in the funeral home, crying over the little boy on the table and a whole lot more. (I’ve given Gerald a sadness akin to mine, and I’m not sure he’s entirely grateful.)
So . . . if you’re sad, I want you to know I understand. And God understands. Jesus wept over his friends and he wept over Jerusalem. And the Father says our tears are so precious that he keeps them in a bottle (Ps. 56:8).
And remember–the story isn’t finished and through it all, we’re being refined. So hold your heads up, dear ones. And know that every tear has been counted and treasured.