I can remember it so well, it feels as if it happened yesterday. The moment that I realized that our family really did move to another country. The moment when the reality of that revelation hit me was like the impact of a truck crashing into a building!
I was trying to fall asleep and couldn’t so I got up to spend time online. As I caught up on group messages from friends in the states and looked at pictures of friends on Facebook, tears welled up within me.
As the flood of sadness overwhelmed me, I was tempted to stuff it like I’d always do. I didn’t want to feel sad, so I would tell myself that this moment would soon end and try really hard to think of something happy. I did this for months. Yet, I was still sad!
Sadness was defeating to me. I didn’t want to admit that I wasn’t handling it well. I know that I planned well for our move. I took the fact that I would miss everyone into consideration. I considered everything we experienced, but considering and experiencing are not the same thing!
Reality hit and it hit me hard.
I couldn’t escape the sadness that night, so I inched myself into a fetal position and began to cry. I cried and cried and cried.
The tears wouldn’t stop. My “faking it until I make it” dam had come crashing down and there was really nothing I could do about it. As the grief in my soul toppled over, I could hear myself saying, “Help, I don’t want to be sad anymore.”
My Helper seemed to not respond because the more I cried, the more heartsick I became.
Sadness, the emotion that we avoid at all costs is the one we need more than we think. Lisa Firestone, PhD. says, “Sadness is a live emotion that can serve to remind us of what matters to us, what gives our life meaning.” We actually need sadness to help us live a balanced life.
So why do we avoid sadness?
Most times, we are afraid to face what is causing us the sadness. That was my reason. Facing it meant that I had to accept it. I did not want to accept the truth of my life. I wanted to wish it away. I didn’t want to deal with it.
So pretending made sense in my then warped mind.
I didn’t think that anyone would understand. I didn’t think that I mattered that much to anyone. I was afraid that people would question God’s call on our lives if I told the truth. So I gave evasive answers when people asked me how I was doing. “Today was a hard day, but God is good, I’ll be okay.” “I’ve had better days, but its all good.” You know, the fake answers that give enough information to let them know that you aren’t perfect, but you’ve got it all under control.
Truthfully, I didn’t have it under control.
Though I truly believed that God was good, I had a hard time seeing His goodness during that time. I was sad everyday.
It wasn’t depression, though I believe it could’ve gone that way. I still functioned well everyday. I laughed with my family and new friends. I ate well and slept well most nights. I lived and wanted to live.
Sadness just took over when I reminisced about my life in the states. So that night, I faced the sadness. It was like opening the closet door and looking the hidden monster in the face and realizing that it wasn’t as horrible as I’d imagined.
Facing the sadness made me appreciate my life more. It gave me new perspective. I began to see people and life differently. I learned to appreciate everyone in my life because of sadness.*
It didn’t feel good to cry that way, but those tears ushered in my healing.
So, why not try it? Let yourself feel the sadness that you try so hard to hide. Let yourself go there. Feel the grief. Feel the disappointment. Embrace those emotions because they usher in the happiness. Remember that happiness is also an emotion. Happiness is really based upon the happenings of our life. Just like sadness, happiness is linked to events.
Take yourself for all of what you are. Don’t leave out any part of you as you live your life. Be all of who you are. Grasp on to your whole self and love each and every inch of you!
*If you find yourself sad all of the time and you can’t function, get help. Quickly find professional help! You can find help here. I really love these places, Eden Counseling Center and The Christian Training Center. Both of these ministries have helped me throughout life.