"Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us." ~Ecclesiastes 7:3 (NLT)
Sadness...I'm sure everyone just could not wait to click on the title of this post. Ha! I don't know about you, but more often than not, I just want to sweep that word right under the rug.
Sadness...it's not one of those socially acceptable topics of conversation. It makes us uncomfortable; it makes things heavy and hard. I mean, when's the last time you asked someone how they were doing and instead of the obligatory "I'm fine," they said, "well, I'm sad, how are you?"
And for those few folks to whom you might actually admit that you're sad, they almost always have that knee-jerk reaction of, "why?" I mean, you never ask folks why they said they're "fine." Why sad? It just reinforces the unspoken rule: sadness is not okay.
I've caught myself saying a few times over this last year, "I just don't want to be sad anymore." It's as if I viewed sadness as an item to check off my "to do" list...that I'd finally wake up one day and no longer face this emotion that nobody ever wants in their life.
Yet, the Creator of the Universe, the Author of Life, who created all emotions, saw fit to make this emotion too. And when I encountered the verses above through a memorial service a few weeks ago, I realized for the first time that perhaps, just perhaps, sadness is not so bad after all. As the writer of Ecclesiastes says, perhaps sadness, if we allow it, can have a "refining influence" on us.
So, I set out to determine just what sadness has taught me, how sadness has refined and influenced me. Here are 7 things I've learned from sadness...