This week the world seems to have dipped it’s bucket into the deep well of sadness that dots this wilderness landscape. And some of that bucketful seems to have gotten into my drinking supply. I felt my spirit sink into a place where regret and fear and home-sickness and people-sickness started to effect the day to day. Started to shift the sunlight off of my face and onto my back where it felt like it would burn a hole through me right to my guts.
The world has been extra sad this week. I have been extra sad this week.
Tell me again that there isn’t a universal energy that permeates the parts with the whole? I can’t even be bothered with a response for you. I’ll just say this…sadness is a real emotion. And he will be dealt with or he will be relentless in his pursuit. For me that has meant crying when I need to cry. Saying words like… “I regret this decision” and “Maybe I’ll never stop missing him” or “This is a hurt that returns whenever I see people I love laughing with my abuser.”
Not needing to speak these words is how I live on my best days…when the sunshine is warm and soft on my face.
But saying the words is how I face Sadness, answer his call, and let him know that he has been heard. He doesn’t however have the upper hand. He doesn’t know something about me that I don’t know. I know and can speak the truth of the hard things. It’s just that most days the hard things don’t have a place in the light because the light is softer, more pleasant. But when Sadness comes to be dealt with…then…then I must say the hard things aloud. I must give them words, vocabulary, breath, and when necessary tears.
Sadness then becomes less pursuer and more comforter. He stops poking at me and trying to bake me from the outside in with his hot, bright light. He instead wraps around me and says “See? I knew you needed to say that. Now sink into this chair and sit with me by the fire. I’ll leave when it’s time.” As this week has shown, I don’t think Sadness and his cousin Sorrow always strike fair deals with all of us. But with only a couple memorable exceptions, this has been our bargain through the years.
Glennon Melton (momastary.com) says the phrase “We can do hard things” to herself and her children when extra courage is needed.
She is right. We can. We do. And sometimes the hard thing is to feel sad about the turmoil in the middle east and rockets in Russia, or to grieve the loss of a comic genius and his soul-ache, and to feel the weight of the injustice in a place like Ferguson, or weep over the line of mature trees cut down to their base outside of a park (A PARK!). Sometimes the hard thing is to miss the lightness of being a child. To wish for one more long morning in bed with an old lover. To think about what it would take to move again, change again, start over again.
Being sad…feeling the sadness…crying through it. None of these things is in and of itself a commentary on my desire or ability to be found again by Joy, Hope, and Peace. They too are relentless and will come for me again. Often sooner than I think when I’m camping in the wilderness with Sadness, the Others come. They help him pack his things and we send him on his way until the next visit.
I am learning to camp with Sadness. To not feel that our time together is a failure. And to beckon to the Others…to Joy…to Hope…to Peace to take me back to laughter and soft light. And I’m learning how to bring camping companions and not feel as though I am burdening them. This is how the wilderness works for me…at least in this season.
For you I pray:
May you reach out when you need help because Sadness overwhelms. May you find your wilderness camping spot, set up camp, and then, when you are all done camping, pack it in…and may you call to the Others and to other campers. You are not alone. You need not be afraid or ashamed. There is help, love, rescue, and hope. xoxo