A million drafts I write. Trying to craft the most perfect, exact, and useful words to share with the world. But I can’t. Because when I want to tell you how happy I am, I cannot find a way to acknowledge my sadness. And when I want to tell you how sad I am, I am equally motivated to express my happiness.
What a mess!
So, here’s the thing. I’m gonna try to make sense of this, and you tell me if I’m way off.
I am HAPPY. and I am SAD. I’m both. And I figure, I can’t be the only one, right?
I have so much to be happy about, thankful for. And I am! Boy, am I. Do you believe me? I fervently hope that this is evident in the way I live and the way I talk, and if it’s not, you need to pull me to the side and tell me to get my stuff together. I truly believe these are hallmarks of the Christian faith, and I’m aiming for it. I miss that mark a lot, because I’m one of those fixer-uppers that Jesus got a hold of. But I’m trying, and I’m looking for things to thank Him for daily.
Happiness does not undo sadness. Did y’all know that already? Somewhere I missed this memo, because it sure seemed to me like happiness was supposed to be the “cure all” for sadness. Happiness in my mind, was the anti-sadness. Wrong. I don’t know how long it has taken me to realize that it’s not an antidote. It doesn’t cancel out sadness. We have to quit trying to make it do that. Because when we do, we aren’t really dealing with the things that make us sad. We’re hiding the sadness, tucking it away, out of the bright light of our happy lives. We aren’t living truthfully if we do that, and in the end it leaves us dissatisfied, because it just doesn’t work! If we don’t live genuinely, what is the point?
Instead of trying to force happiness to dissolve our sorrow… instead let it do what it’s supposed to. Let it make you stronger. Happiness makes you able to handle the sad. Happiness doesn’t restore lost things. It doesn’t heal sickness. It won’t bring back the dead, turn back the clock, give you any do-overs, or stop a ticking bomb. But it lifts you, it lightens you. It is absolutely vital to find, hold, and nurture the happiness in your life. Without it, sadness can and will overwhelm you.
We’ll have both things in life, guaranteed. That’s just the way it goes. So be happy. Enjoy the happiness, every ounce of it. Expand it, embrace it, seek it out in every imaginable place you can. Fill your heart and soul and body up with all the things there are to be happy about in your human existence. Never pass up an opportunity to soak. it. in.
When you find the sadness, (and you WILL, because all men do, though sorry I am to say it), you will be ready. You can bear it, you can survive it. When you meet grief and fear and disappointment, you will be buoyed by the strength of the joys you have known. Your soul is shielded by a thousand moments of happiness. Though sorrow may cut you to to the bone, it will not kill you.
If you’re sad, it’s okay. It happens. It’s not a failure to be sad. Did you need to hear that? Yeah. Me, too.
And then, when the tears stop, even if just briefly, find a little piece of happy. Laugh when something’s funny. Smile at the sweet things. Hug more. Eat good food. Doodle. Listen to music that gives you goosebumps. Ride with your windows down. Sing with the radio. Talk to your dog. Chat with the old guy at the gas station who reminds you of your Papaw. Slow down. Tickle somebody. Talk in a weird voice to your little nephew. Race to the mailbox. Just be happy, in whatever increments you find. So when you must be sad, (and sometimes you must), you will be wearing layers of joy for the battle. You will be happy, even when you must be sad.
That’s it. It’s not all that profound, and I certainly didn’t come up with anything that hasn’t been said before (and better, I”m sure!). But I am tuckered out from the telling, and I’m ready for bed. Sweet dreams, my friends. May many moments of happiness find you tomorrow.