Sadness is a blessing.
Admittedly, that’s a song title from the Swedish singer Lykke Li but there is something to the idea.
Sadness does have its advantages. It’s just that most people generally prefer to avoid that part of the emotional spectrum as much as possible. It’s not glamorous to cry your heart out. Sadness is ugly. Sadness can bend the will towards the breaking point, eager in its quest at conquering you. You isolate yourself, often shutting yourself off from the very resources (i.e. people), that can help to bring you out of it. It brings you in contact with the all encompassing darkness, to exposure of the devastating pits of the human existence. I heard it’s call many times when I was younger. A wrong answer, a game lost by a mistake made or an unforseen circumstance, cruelties played by children. These helped contribute to the tears shed within the public and the private sphere.
So, most of us hide from it. We surround ourselves with the distractions of the world. Many chemically change their internal makeup through pills that promise the fortune of countless happy days ahead.
Which is fine for a little while. We derive comfort out of it. We may even think that it helps us. We are beating it. Confining it to a dust bin filled with the weakened corpse of a force bent on destruction. Except…it’s not weak. It revels in its ability to hide and then spring out upon you. A chemical effects change more subtlely over time. The highs begin to feel like flatlands and the lows canyons. A simple shaking of the core from an inopportune moment causes the wall to fall down like in Jericho.
So then, we just give in? Mope around all the time? Let it consume us like a fire, the cool flames licking around till the smoke causes our vision to haze over?
Not quite. There is a difference between embracing sadness and drowning within our own personal lakes. When it is allowed a permanent place to dwell, sadness gets older and wiser to what comes to combat it. We need to cut it off at the pass. We let it travel with us for some moments, and then place it upon the curb, with a future return pick up perhaps still likely. We greet it at the door, and let it sit for a spell. But it will not and cannot occupy the bed upstairs. It will not be allowed a minute of solitude to build a hidden tunnel to squeeze itself into.
Sadness brings to us the benefit of seeing what the extent of the high could be. We may not be able to reach it at that moment or maybe at all no matter our effort. But our perspective in the low marks the base upon which we can begin to rebuild the steps. It may not become a house stretched up to the stars, but it can prop itself just above the horizon. For to deny the potential for a fall within the soul makes it seem to me then to question what purpose would a soul serve us. Let us then be merely automatons doomed to a life of repetitive movement. But there is no fulfillment to that life for me.
Humanity, like life, expresses itself through duality. We laugh and cry. Fight and make up. Sin and sanctify. Destroy and rebuild. It’s what we do and are. So I learn every day to enjoy the good and burden through the terrible. The emotional darkness is as unavoidable as the physical darkness that appears to shuffle the daytime away from the sky above. But so too does the light eventually return the favor. If it works for the ancient wonder that is the universe we live in, so too will it work for us.