The Gift of Sadness

Wet Ivy

Once I did a post on the emotion anger. To this day (with the exception of a blogjacked post), it holds the record for the most comments. People had strong feelings about anger. They also demonstrated fear, confusion and guilt.

From the way our culture deals similarly with sadness, I'd say we're a people who haven't embraced the gift of emotions. Instead, we're tempted to distract ourselves or medicate.

Alternately, we could see our anger, sadness, fear and so forth as gifts— signs that show us where we need to walk. Often these emotions speak most strongly to us in dreams. Pay attention, they say. I've got something important to tell you.

Yesterday I was still feeling sad. So when I went out to my Secret Place, I took my bible with me. The Psalmist, after all, says, "My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to your word." (119:25)

First I prayed about my sadness. "Show me what I need to know, Lord," I asked. Then I opened to Proverbs, a favorite place, to meditate on a section I've been mulling anyway...

Proverbs 8:22-32 shows us the partnership that Wisdom had with God at the time of Creation. Wisdom ends the section by saying, "Happy are those who keep my ways."

Happy are those. Happy, if we keep Wisdom's ways. I couldn't help but notice that promise. A small devotion, tucked in near this scripture, from Carole Mayhall, further expressed, "Three things will bring rejoicing to our souls: 1) God's very presence, 2) his world around us and 3) people."

Right now, I'm not completely sure what to do with this charge. But I'm embracing the sadness as a sign... that I need to find my way more deeply into God's presence, or his created world, or people. We'll see where I go.

For now I'm simply content with the gift of sadness— a sign, a fragile cone bearing seeds I need to grow.

Pine Cones in the Ivy photo, by L.L. Barkat.


This really cheered me tonight. From Blue Mountain Mama's new music space.

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Blogger Erin said...

Something I've learned with the last year(or maybe re-learned, or became more comfortable with, I'm not quite sure how to put it) is that sadness has some very therapeutic and blessed aspects to it.
Which is where the proverbial "good cry for the sake of crying" comes about, I guess.

Sadness has a way of releasing me from the bonds of constant pleasure-seeking and my pursuit of happiness. With my tears comes the cleansing of my misconception that the fallen world must somehow fit into a fairy tale experience. It is a great release to not have to strive after these things.

"A sad face is good for the heart."

5:56 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Oh, that verse was on the tip of my brain when I wrote this post. Thanks for bringing it to the forefront.

I like that thought about sadness releasing you. I'm going to think on that for a while.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Heidi said...

This spoke to me today, thank you. Yes, emotion is a gift that we tend to down play. Wonderful that you find solace in the Word , I love this. Thanks, Heidi

p.s. I don't know if you saw my reply to your comment but yes were are taking probiotics and other supplements to help our bodies out on our yeast - detox!!!

11:47 PM  
Blogger Christianne said...

I agree with you about anger and sadness being indicators for something more that needs paying attention to. I'm reading a book that affirms this notion, too, so it's been on my mind a bit of late.

Another thought on feelings that a friend suggested to me recently: feelings indicate the truth about how we FEEL; they do not necessarily indicate truth about what really IS. Meaning, our feelings are true for us and teach us something important that we need to notice. They don't, however, determine objective reality because we always see and experience things through certain filters that may or may not cloud out clear vision.

Not that this is necessarily related to where you are, but it's more thought on the subject to stir around in the general conversation. :)

3:01 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

I've come to believe that emotions are the voice of the human spirit. The "gifts of the Spirit" are all emotions/emotional: love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Many times our emotions sap us of energy. We become exhausted. That's what's so amazing about Christ. He says "Come unto Me, you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest...Take my yoke upon you...it's easy...learn from me..." And what does He have that He knows we need to learn? He says "for I am gentle and humble in heart."

So, one could say that the antidote for exhausting sadness (as with so many situations) is gentleness and humility....

PS - On a completely different note, I thought of you recently because I studied hard and went and took the test and became a USGBC LEED Accredited Professional. You are one of the people I wanted to tell, since I think you would appreciate that at this blog site.

4:18 PM  
Blogger Lynet said...

Thank you. I like the idea of sadness as a good thing that tells us when something is wrong. Yet another instance of an idea on your blog(s) that comes along at the right moment and gently smooths out a piece of my mind.

12:40 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Heidi... thanks for following up on the probiotics question! I'm glad this encouraged you.

Christianne... yes, that's the flip side which I'd thought of. For some people sadness is just part of a skewed view on life and circumstances. Still, the sadness speaks of something being wrong, even if the wrong is just that someone's personal view is skewed! :)

Kim... interesting connection about emotions and fruits of the Spirit! And congrats on your accreditation. What prompted you to do it? And how do you hope to use it as you carry on in the field?

Lynet... hey, good to see you here! I'm glad you found a little smoothing.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

I wrote "gifts of the Spirit" and meant to write "fruit of the Spirit." You caught that. We (I mean especially men) are so unaware of the importance of emotions and the connection to people and to God.

I was prompted to get the LEED AP because I'm an architect working for a large construction company that's just now catching on. I'm prompting as much as I can and our potential clients are starting to require/demand "green" buildings.

3:17 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Kim... thanks for following up. Glad to hear that the industry is beginning to budge on these matters.

Oh isn't that funny? I thought I was correcting myself when I wrote "fruits"; I didn't realize you'd written "gifts".

4:00 PM  

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