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Wednesday Wondering - March 20, 2024

ScriptureRevelation 21: 3 - 5

3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,     “See, the home of God is among mortals.      He will dwell with them;      they will be his peoples,      and God himself will be with them;   4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes.      Death will be no more;      mourning and crying and pain will be no more,      for the first things have passed away.”5 And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.”


Reflection

I have been wondering a lot about sadness lately. That is not to say that I have been thinking about depression, but rather this idea of a sadness that is pensive and thoughtful. It can be challenging when one finds themselves in a place of sadness because in many ways the world doesn't do well with sadness. When we are feeling sad quite often those around us believe that they need to pressure us to find happiness, to find something other than the sadness in our lives. Society continually tells us that happiness needs to be our ultimate goal that we should all be happy and our lives will then be fine. I also believe that in this world of social media many people don't know how to interact with sadness.


There was a post that was found on Facebook that stated, "May your life be as awesome as you pretend it is on Facebook." Rosalind Lewis, who is an educator in mental health, reflects on this statement in the following way, "I don't think it is so much that people pretend; it's more that people generally don't put on Facebook the struggles they have in life." In many ways we come to understand that the world does not understand our sadness. That to be sad in the world is not appropriate. In a world that affirms happy feelings, materialistic success, career achievements, academic qualifications, beauty and youth it is difficult to find space to speak about our feelings of struggle, emotional pain, and loneliness, growing older and just plain feeling sadness. The reality is that there is much in the world that can bring feelings of grief and sadness in our lives. There are many who feel disappointment in regards to lost opportunities. There are many who feel sadness because of how our lives have not turned out as they had hoped. Many of us feel deep sadness because of the challenges that we face due to so many events that are taking place in this world. We are all also struggling due to the ever present, on-going; violence that has affected all of our lives.


I think that there are many of us who recognize that sadness dances in our souls, and I believe that that is okay. It is okay to embrace the fact that we are sad, that sometimes finding happiness can be challenging in our lives. The scripture from Revelation reminds us that God is indeed present in our world right now. It gives us comfort because it helps us to see that even in our times of sadness God is among us, not pressuring us to change, but rather journeying with us in our times of sadness. So we can be sad, knowing that God is always with us. It is that comfort, knowing that we are not alone in our sadness that can help us to be okay, even when we are sad, for it is okay for us to acknowledge our sadness. It is okay for us to be sad at times and God is with us when we do.


But there is also something that each of us can do in the face of sadness, we can offer the gift of our presence. Ullie Kay, the poet, speaks to our role in the following way, “ the best medicine you can bring for sadness is not joy. It is not telling them that they need to move on or get over it or realize how much worst things could be. No. The medicine for a spirit in mourning is tenderness and warmth and compassion and connection and presence. Sit with someone in their grief and let them cry their ugly tears. Do not shine and scurry grief away. They must walk through it. This is love. To abandon all that we think we know and be so full of grace that we are invited in to partake in someone else’s darkest moments. What an honour it is to simply be a light. The antidote for sadness is love, it is always love.” To allow sadness to exist in our lives and in the lives of others is important.


I would like to end with another quote from Rosalind Lewis, "Today on a ride into the city on the tram, the sole of my boot was touching the plastic seat opposite me. An older man came towards me. I moved my foot for him to sit down. He very deliberately took out a tissue and wiped the plastic where the sole of my shoe had been. 'I'm sorry,' I said. He muttered very sternly, 'and so you should be!' and not a smile flickered upon his face. Feeling duly told off, I imagined the crust that covered over his sadness of spirit - the crust of bitterness, cynicism, and anger. I would rather be in touch with my sadness, painful as it is to feel, lest when I am old, I become bitter like him. For sadness keeps my heart soft."


Prayer

God of Infinite Presence, let me be sad. Give me the courage and strength to know when I am sad and to put words to my sadness in a world that would rather only speak to happy things. Give me knowledge that you are always with me, in those times of joy and celebration, but also in those times of grief and sadness. Help me to feel your gentle presence with me, supporting me, guiding me when I struggle. Give me the wisdom to know that it is okay to feel sad at times, that life can be difficult, but that we are never alone. We ask this in name of the one who came to walk with us, your son, Jesus. Amen.

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