True Sadness

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Psalm 34:18

I’ve been on quite the emotional rollercoaster this past week. Not bad or good, just a lot of feelings. Up and down and up and down. For years I tried to keep my feelings at a distance, numb them out, ignore them, deny them, cover them up, hide them…escape them.

One has to wonder, WHY? What is so terrible about feelings that I was scared of them? Why would someone want to live in a state of dulled awareness to the riches of life’s biggest gift, feeling?

I believe it is partly because life comes wrapped up in lessons many of which create pain. And as I’ve come to learn, even more so lately, pain is the portal to growth. It’s the touchstone to change and awareness. And it is not easy to embrace that idea. Without pain, we have no reason to change.

Sometimes though, especially when the pain is so great, we run. For the time being, this coping can be good. It helps us survive the trauma of a painful and tragic death of a loved one, or enduring a life-threatening illness, or growing up with a parent who is active in their addiction. It can all be so confusing. Just getting through a day is challenging enough, forget about processing the feelings that surface.

The problem is years later, we may still be using the detachment that worked in our past when it is no longer necessary. And then life takes on a dull shade of grey. The highs are not so high and the lows are not so low. Instead of the thrill of riding the roller coaster, we have relegated ourselves to spectating as others scream and laugh and enjoy the ride.

Well, I’ve gotten on and have chosen the front row. I’ll tell you my experience is that it is often thrilling and sometimes sickening. Some days I don’t know if I can go one more round and other days I am on a high that I think will never end.

So if you’re feeling like life is having its way with you, and your emotions are just along for the ride, this is good. You are living. You are human. You don’t have to allow them to control you, but know that as they respond to the happenings of your existence, they are giving you a chance to live in full color. They are also a wise guidance system to help steer you towards God if you slow down and listen and allow them to.

Thank you to a dear friend, you know who you are, that sent me this song last night. I listened to it three times and it was the springboard for this post. It’s okay to have true sadness too. Without the contrast of sadness, how would we know happiness?!