Now sadness is an interesting thing. Years back I learned to be sad. Rather than fighting sadness I learned to roll with the pain, sitting in the sadness till the sadness lifted and I wasn’t sad anymore.
I am pretty sure that we all have sadness from time to time. I don’t think that I am any stranger or sadder than the rest of us.
At the same time, I get the distinct impression that most are not okay with sadness, that when someone is sad we rush to fix it.
My sadness of these past few days are a combination of a personal sadness of mine, added to a spiritual carrying of another’s sadness, added to a spirit of sadness that settled on me from an outside source.
It’s been quite a bit all at once and yet the only real difficulty in it all has simply been that I am very tired.
It was two years ago today that a friend of mine lost her son. It was a tragic accident and the marked loss has remained as sharp as ever. My friend relives the knife-cutting death of her son nearly every day, the sadness these last few days being particularly pointed.
I am helping to carry her sadness.
Another friend has buried anger and bitterness and these horrific lies coming at her (and out of her) about the origins and journey of her life. Over the weekend I came face to face with the power of these lies, and in it was nearly stifled with an immense sadness that permeated my soul.
I am experiencing her deep sadness.
To top it all off, I’ve a relationship of my own that is not doing so well. With bumps and hurdles the pain of that relationship has been most acute this past week. I don’t know what the answers are. There is no immediate help for the difficulties.
I am moving through my own sadness.
Years back I learned that it is okay to not be okay. I still remember the relief of finding that out and even more profound I realized that God is in the worst of it at all times.
I was going through a crazy difficult time that had me simply wanting to run. I was overwhelmed and in an over-loaded state of being. Everything around me was hard. I was exhausted.
And to my mind’s eye came an image of a gigantic pile of manure. You know, the kind you order for your garden each year and that sits in the driveway until it is all distributed.
Or if you live on a farm, that heap of manure to which more is added day by day.
Imagine that pile of manure as big as can be. Now imagine that this is how my life was. My entire life. One gigantic pile of poo. (it is how it felt at the time)
And to my mind’s eye came the crystal clear realization that God was in the center of the crap. That God was right there for me in the midst of all that was bad and wrong, as long as I didn’t run.
That instead of turning in the opposite direction I could enter into the difficulty and I would find even more of God.
I learned that God is in the shit.
All of it, all the time.
Personally I’ve hardly been more relieved by any other theology than this one. This theology meets us in the center of the worst of circumstance and the middle of profound sadness.
Even though we are sad, we don’t have to do it alone.
So I am doing my part joining in and carrying sadness for others. It’s not something I necessarily run to do and yet I am aware of the honor and the privilege of entering into the midst of others difficulties with a prophetic work of sharing the pain.
It is part of God’s Kingdom and part of God’s work.
For whom might you be sad today?