Sadness Does Good Work

I’ve been sad this week.  Actually many good friends of mine have shared that they have been too.  The sky has been rainy and cloudy and foggy and sunless for what seems like years now.  The lack of vitamin D sadness is moving in and it is taking its toll.

But as the weeks have unrolled, I’m beginning to wonder if sadness has been given a bad rap.  I’ve been starting to wonder if sadness has some greater work its doing.  If the rain, and the mug and the “whats wrong with me today?” can all be part of a deeper work God can do in us if we let Him.  And before we go giving all the credit to Disney’s Inside Out (albeit a spectacle proof of my point that movie is!) in the Bible it says this in Ecclesiastes 7:3…

“Sorrow is better than laughter, For by a sad countenance the heart is made better.” 

Better than laughter?

The heart is made better?

Can this be true?  Can this be what the Word of God says?  Can this be a wise truth that I have been running to avoid most of my days?  I mean truthfully, who enjoys being sad?  I know I don’t.  But if I go into my sadness knowing there is nothing wrong or broken in me might I find some redemption there?  If I can begin to see my sadness as not something to be avoided, but as something that is doing a work in me might I not be so hasty in trying to find some way…ANY way to start feeling happy again?  I wonder.

I’m really not kidding you, the sappy weather has a way of bringing people down…of bringing me down.  Usually it takes me a day or two to even realize what is going on with me.  As they days pass and the sadness sticks around alittle things begin to happen in me.

I get drawn to Gideon’s book, reading it over and over and over.  Touching his pictures, caressing his cheeks like they are somehow still here.

I get all needy around my husband.  All wanting his attention and his help and his love extra much.

All I want to do is stay inside.  Not go anywhere, not do anything, just sit.

I get much less productive.

I find myself wanting to constantly whine *ahem I mean talk about my sad feelings.

I go to bed earlier and sleep later.

These are true stories.  I did every single one of these whiny, baby, sad things all in about a week and a half.  It was literally this…


But as the week went by I began to notice things.  Notice that my sadness wasn’t just being a whiny unwelcomed friend…it was doing something.

I cried over, with and for Gideon for the first time in a long time.  It felt good.  When I cry for him it makes me feel closer to me and each tear brings me further along in this grief journey.  Each tear brings just a little more healing.  Sadness was at work.

My husband and I sat down and did some very real and needed marriage work.  Like the lets work on this, even write down someways we can grow, “wow I really love you sorry I don’t show you enough”  type work.  The type of heart to heart that only comes out when the rain clouds do.  Sadness was at work.

In all of my staying inside I finally took a deep breath, stopped running around so much, and like…organized.  Whew!  Sadness did some real tangible work there.

Because I was at home so much I found something novel…it was called “time.”  I did puzzles with my kids, played games, had some kick butt dance parties, and even had a family movie watching afternoon.  You guessed it Inside Out of course.  Sadness was at work.

I even got me one of these tucked sweetly into my journal by my daughter.  One of those "can I cry my eyes out, hold my daughter, never let her go, and beg her not to grow up and leave me" moments.
I even got me one of these tucked sweetly into my journal by my daughter. One of those “can I cry my eyes out, hold my daughter, never let her go, and beg her not to grow up and leave me” moments.
I'll take sadness to make me slow down and focus in on these kiddos any
I’ll take sadness to make me slow down and focus in on these kiddos any day…any…day.

In my desire to talk about my sadness I found that dear friends of mine felt the same way too.  How sweet it was to be able to talk real and vulnerable, making great friendships even greater.

I caught up on sleep.  Finally, amazingly I felt rested.  Sadness was at work.

Now, this is all very hindsightness.  Of course while I was in the middle of all this I felt pathetic, sappy, lazy, sleepy, needy, and blue.  And, yes, it is still raining here.  But in the end I wonder if my sadness opened up a place that I don’t normally keep open.  A place inside of me where the tough feelings live and the things I don’t want to admit hide out.  I think I let God minister to them a little.  Like trying to push a balloon under water, I just could not hide my true feelings anymore.  My husband, my children, my friends, my God…I had no choice but to let them see.  To let them in and to let them love on me, cause no matter how hard I fought that balloon would just not stay submerged under the water.  The sadness brought it all up and out.

If you are like my husband you read that Bible verse above and said what he said, “Whatever, it doesn’t really say that…you must have taken it out of context!”  For the 1.  I don’t do that .  And for the 2. here it is in its full fledgedness:

“A good name is better than precious ointment,

And the day of death than the day of one’s birth;

Better to go to the house of mourning

Than to go to the house of feasting,

For that IS the end of all men;

and the living will take it to heart.

Sorrow is better than laughter,

For by a sad countenance the heart is made better.

The heart of the wise is in the house of the mourning,

But the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.”  Ecclesiastes 7:1-4

I always knew Gideon made me wiser.  Now I know why.  There is business to be done in the house of the mourning.  Its a place none of us ever want to go, a place I lived afraid of for most of my life.  But Amen to the fact that God’s good work can even be found in that place of all the places.

sadness rain

2 thoughts on “Sadness Does Good Work

  1. Without sadness we would never know joy. Freud wrote a wonderful essay, “Mourning and Meloncholy”. I’ve turned to this piece during times of struggle. One step at a time. Just “be”. All that your children want and need is you and Dave. And if self-soothing is required, a great lesson for them to experience and learn. It’s all OK.

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