Some call it pessimism. Unspiritual. A sickness best treated with peppy music and cliché-riddled Christianese. They caution and guard against sadness, considering it a rabbit hole (or a worm hole) leading nowhere good. Others call it holy. Jeremiah-ish. Defending it with the label of realism – open eyes that see things as they truly are.
It is Fundamental Sadness.
Do you know what it feels like, this fundamental sadness? The sadness that seems to be part of all things?
Sometimes the sadness is very personal; it’s the loss of a sister or a father or a good friend. Sometimes it’s the loss of a country or long-treasured plans.
Sometimes the sadness is more global. It’s the emotional darkness that comes after you hear about Las Vegas, Mogadishu, the Yazidis, Paris, the Rohingya, or Raqqa. Sometimes its triggered by hashtags like #MeToo or #BringBackOurGirls.
It is the blazing sunset that sears, not because of who’s present, but because of who’s absent.
It is the baby’s cry in a mother’s arms that taunts your empty ones.
It is the background sadness, fundamental, and seemingly underneath all things.
It’s the threat of miscarriage behind every pregnancy.
It’s the one who sees the beauty of the dawn, but feels deep in his gut that the dawn comes before the dusk – that sunrise precedes sunset.
It is the lover who knows, at the beginning of a beautiful kiss, that it will end.
“…of all conceivable things the most acutely dangerous thing is to be alive.”
— G.K. Chesterton
For me, this foundational sadness is not necessarily depressing, but it is always pressing: exerting force, demanding to be heard, demanding to be observed.
Do you know this feeling?
People get scared when I talk like this. I sort of do too. What will people think? This doesn’t sound right. Or mature. Or Holy.
And yet Jesus wept.
“And yet.” A powerful reminder, hinting at the deeper magic.
Jesus knew Jerusalem would destroy the prophets, and he knew Rome would destroy Jerusalem.
Though the sadness feels fundamental, the deeper magic is there, waiting, pulsing. It absorbs the sadness, bearing it, transforming it, then re-birthing it.
Continue reading at A Life Overseas.