It's O.K. To Be Sad
2017 has given me more sad moments than I've had in many years. I'm balancing them well, and they haven't run me over just yet, but the experience has me thinking a lot about sadness.
Today, I was fully covered in sad. From the tips of my un-pedicured toes to the top of my messy-bun head. I was heavy with sadness, it slowed my pace and surrounded me from all angles. The kind of sorrow that finds hot, salty tears kissing your face unannounced and often. I tend to feel shame with my sadness. I don't know how to talk about it without feeling as though I've passed on a burden. Or maybe I don't want to talk about it, because I don't need answers or advice, I just need to feel safe with my sadness. I need to know that there is enough room in your house for me and my sadness to come visit. There is no defining line where I end and sadness begins, we are a package deal, sadness and I.
I'm not afraid of sorrow like I used to be. Most people want to rush sadness. Quicken it, move it, roll it over. Sadness introduces us to Uncomfortable; most of us don't like meeting Uncomfortable. We react by trying to reason or time or fix the sadness. We scurry around Sad, doing and saying all of the things we have been taught to say to Sad, like "You're Going To Be O.K" or "You're Not Alone." Which are both lovely things in and of themselves, but they don't necessarily shorten sadness's stay. The thing with Sadness and Uncomfortable is that if you look them in the eye and invite them in for a conversation, you begin to learn. It's kind of like choosing to enter into conversation with that odd-ball person at the party. You could stand next to them, constantly glancing over their shoulder looking for an 'out', or you could fully embrace it, not worrying about what you're missing out on, or appearances or pride.
One of my all time favourite poets says this about sadness:
The deeper that sorrow carves, the more joy you can contain. Isn't that the truth? There has been no truer truth than that. For instance, today my son painted me a picture. It was of him and I, standing beside a tree, holding hands with a bright, yellow sun above us. When he gave it to me, Sadness and I both reached out to receive it. Every part of me was flooded with so much gratitude, so much pure JOY over what my son had created. He's painted many pictures before and while I appreciate and cherish his artwork, this one came at a timely moment and reminded me that the joy felt after a walk with sadness is unbridled indeed.
We never know how long Sad will stay, but I do know this - the sooner you accept him, the quicker the learning begins. And if that doesn't help your sorrow, just think of all the room your making for Joy, all those deep and wide places within your soul that are being carved out for a future of soul inspiring, ain't-nothing-going-to-get-you-down, JOY!