SADNESS IS A GIFT NOT AN ENEMY

“Feelings are God’s precious gift”

Sadness is truly a precious gift from the Creator of the universe. No sadness – no joy. No feelings – no humanity. No sadness – no conscience. No conscience – no morality. No morality – no morality to right and wrong. No right and wrong – no God. No God – no life. 

Fact is, I dislike sadness. I run from sadness. I eliminate feelings of sadness with chocolate, pizza, and other fat producing foods. I hide sadness in many ways. I grew up avoiding sadness. My father punished sadness. “Hey, dry up or I will give you something to cry about,” or “Boys don’t cry & don’t be a sissy.”

It is incredible to think movie directors and producers work diligently to create scenes with the intent to emote sadness and tears; yet too many men stifle these emotions with ridicule or teasing like my father did to his children.

It makes sense to me that the measure of a man is one who fights like a warrior when necessary and tears up with tenderness when appropriate. Two opposite emotions required. Cut one off and the other diminishes or expands beyond reason. Another way to put it is, if you can’t show empathy, you can’t truly love. Anger is the flip side of love. 

Speaking of anger, it is my conviction, anger is a valuable, absolutely necessary emotion. When Luke was 9 days old he underwent the most serious possible heart operation. When they began to put all kinds of tubes into Luke, he fought like a gladiator. Luke was boiling hot, angry. The Doc said to the Father Roger, “Luke is a fighter; he is going to make it.”

If we want our “fight factor” to grow, sadness is a powerful emotion. Sadness is fuel to change bad situations. Sadness is energy to get out of terrible situations. Sadness is a fantastic motivational tool. Instead of using anger on a child’s poor behavior, sadness and disappointment is often a far better tool.

Sadness has the potential to turn to joy and happiness. Instead of eating away my sadness, instead of pretending it doesn’t hurt to be betrayed or mistrusted, I am learning to own my sadness. I am learning to say, “You hurt me. I am really sad you chose to treat me this way.” I am discovering it is not only okay to explore and examine my sadness, it is actually therapeutic and healthy to do so.

The Bible scene that has profoundly impacted me is using God’s gift of imagination in actually “seeing myself” in the Garden of Gethsemane with Jesus and His followers. “Take a walk with me Fred, says “Jesus in my mind’s eye. Strolling down the path as the apostles slept, I witness Jesus literally begging His father to let this bitter cup, the crucifixion, pass. Make no mistake, Jesus was sad when His Father said, “There is no other way for sins to be forgiven. You must go to the cross, My beloved Son.”

Yes, indeed, I am here to say sadness is God’s gift to you and me. Let’s embrace it so that we can truly love those He has placed in our lives.

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