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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

When We Feel Sad

Jesus wept.  John 11:35

I think I learned something today.

Jake just returned from Houston with a group helping others pick up the pieces after Hurricane Harvey.  I feel inadequate to even talk about it.  One family returned to their house and found that looters had broken into the house, stolen things of value and then turned on a water hose and left it running for three days.   Another lady was desperately trying to keep a couch, but finally let it go when she was convinced that the mold in it was making her sick.  People are living in their homes still full of water because there is no other place to go.  It is sad and heartbreaking.  But Jake came home inspired by the spirit of others and the many warm bodies there to help.  In the middle of it all, many miracles are happening in this tragic time. 

And seemingly unrelated to this, the last two or three weeks have just been hard for me.  Weightier things in my life have seemingly consumed much of my thoughts and energy, and it's been very hard to be excited about less important things.  Maybe it's in the air since so many Americans are suffering right now. 

I've learned we can never compare our sadness with others.  After we lost Megan and the grief was so intense, many would tell us that we were going through the hardest thing anyone could go through.  And it was terrible.  But I would hear other stories about others that let me know that we were spared from other griefs.  Sometimes, "small" things can break our hearts; it's impossible to measure these things reasonably. 

I've watched my emotions diligently this past year.  I have taken care that I not fall back into a black pit again.  But today I have been sad.  And I realized that sometimes we just need to let ourselves grieve.  Our Savior wept.  He is sometimes referred to as a suffering Savior and a Man of Sorrows.  Grief is part of life.  And the more we are able to purely experience grief, the greater we can experience joy.  I cannot refuse to feel sad when there are things to feel sad about.  I can cry, not out of self-pity, but just out of pain and sorrow.  And it helps me to know the pain of others, and maybe I can grieve with others more perfectly.

So I am giving myself permission to feel sad right now.  But let it be redemptive; let others' sorrows lead to hope and life and the things that are most precious.  Let is be a healing grief that helps us come to a place of peace and acceptance.  Next, hopefully, comes strength to enter life again in all its fullness.

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