Sadness is Underrated- A Stolen Blog Post

By Molly Bice-Jackson - 7:17 PM

It was my pleasure to have lunch today with Tami Weaver. Tami and I met through our mutual friend Emily shortly after Lucy passed away. Tami's daughter Joy, died in her sleep of (they think) the croup, while Tami and her family were vacationing in Disneyland. It is a heartbreaking story, as all stories of a child's seemingly premature passing are. Being with her was so comfortable, so safe, so KNOWING. She just knows. She looks in my eyes and she KNOWS.

We had a fantastic conversation about Joy and Lucy, our pain and grief, our learning process, our lives. One topic we touched on was the depth and richness we are now experiencing after our tragedies. A depth and an understanding of life that I think others may even envy if they could taste of it. We paid a very high price to have this perspective on life and death, but it is something I hold onto fiercely throughout my journey. When I got home, there was a beautiful email from my friend Michelle, which much more eloquently expressed the very thing Tami and I had been talking about. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.

The original blog post can be found HERE.

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A recent essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education made the following point (ht: Andrew Sullivan):

I for one am afraid that American culture's overemphasis on happiness at the expense of sadness might be dangerous, a wanton forgetting of an essential part of a full life. I further am concerned that to desire only happiness in a world undoubtedly tragic is to become inauthentic, to settle for unrealistic abstractions that ignore concrete situations. I am finally fearful of our society's efforts to expunge melancholia. Without the agitations of the soul, would all of our magnificently yearning towers topple? Would our heart-torn symphonies cease?

This is something I've been thinking about for a long time. Obviously, feeling happy is a good thing, but what about feeling sad? One of the most interesting parts of Mormonism, for me, is its fundamentally tragic view, not only of life, but also of the afterlife. Good and evil, happiness and sorrow, must always exist together, because there is a necessary "opposition in all things." Even God cannot reconcile the competing contradictions and thus, in Mormon scripture, we find a "weeping" God. God is love, but loving means caring, and caring means as much sorrow as happiness. It seems to me that Mormonism does not promise so much a life that is happy, but a life that is full; not a pleasant life, but a rich life; not an existence of unending bliss, but of eternal creation. And creation is often born out of sorrow, like a heart-torn symphony.

So, next time you are sad, be happy that you are sad. A life without sadness is not a divine life. It is not even a human life. It is a life without love.

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Amen. Amen.

What do you think? Do you agree?

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15 Loving Lines

  1. I absolutely agree.
    This essay is wonderful. After experiencing the loss of a loved one, I started thinking on this level. It is a beautiful well written essay that speaks absolute truth.

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  2. wow. i love that. thanks for sharing.

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  3. I agree. Sorrow brings a greater capacity for joy and light.
    Thanks for today.
    It was a pleasure to be with you.

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  4. I have so never thought of it that way, but its true. We would not have full complete truly joyful lives without sorrow and pain. The gospel really does teach us that. What a powerful thought. Thank you!

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  5. Molly, I'm glad that this post was of interest to you.

    Do you know the Young family (Cody and Leah) in Columbus, Ohio? I think we might have multiple common friends.

    Bryan W.

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  6. I do agree, completely. My sister and I have often commented to each other that the funerals of our loved ones have been as beautiful as they are sad because the sorrow is so exquisite. I had a friend who went on anti-depressants once and decided to discontinue them because she felt so flat that she couldn't feel ANY sadness, and that was worse than feeling too much. She also found that her joy didn't feel "real" without the sadness to balance it. Very interesting.

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  7. You are so strong. I hope that I can meet you some day. You touch my life, and I am so grateful for you. I will pray for you.
    littlekdbug.blogspot.com

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  8. Molly and Vic, I hope that it is okay that I come to read your blog. Your story has reached the ears and hearts of many people--even here in San Francisco.

    I thought of you especially in church a few weeks back when the lesson was given about loss and I said a prayer for you that day.

    I want to thank you for posting this message especially. It points out beautifully thoughts that I have had, but could not put in to words. While I have not even come close to the pain you have felt- I can understand saddness and loss and am grateful to have a better understanding of what those feelings mean for progression. You are continually in my prayers. May the peace of the holy spirit and the love of our Savior be with you always.

    Marcie

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  9. I am so happy that you and Tami found each other. You are both amazing mothers and women. Thanks for this article. I think everyone needs to be reminded this in life.

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  10. Wow, that was so profound. It certainly helps to view suffering and sorrow with that perspective. It does make so much sense.

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  11. I absolutely agree. "There must needs be opposition in all things."
    How could we know one without the othere. A beautiful post, and a great reminder. I will strive to look upon my trials in a new light.

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  12. Molly, I have been reading you for a few weeks, ever since you commented on Adriane's blog. I linked to you and one of my dear mission friends who lost a daughter in April thanked me for the reference. I am so grateful to you and to her for the perspective and gratitude your words have given my life. We dont' even know each other, but as I was shopping for "St. Lucia crowns" for my daughters (we like to celebrate the Swedish holidy on Dec. 13th), I even thought of ordering a tiny St. Lucy for you. Your Lucy certainly has been a bringer of light for me and my loved ones. Thank you for sharing so honestly here.

    And yes, I agree with this post. God wants us to feel our feelings, all of them, for they are a part of what makes us more like Him.

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  13. YES. One of my all time favorite talks (given at a stake conference, so not available in a hard copy--but I took copious notes) was all about pain and it's essentiality to life. There is a purpose in the pain. I always get frustrated with people who say things like "don't be sad--we have the gospel and therefore we should never be sad!" I get what they're saying in a simplified sense, but it's just not possible to avoid, nor is it a good idea to avoid. Don't get me wrong I wouldn't ask for it, but pain has enriched my life. I also find this idea to be a link to the Word of Wisdom...so many people use drugs and alcohol to dull their pain and sorrow, while we are admonished to face our pain in all it's fullness and heart-wrenching agony. Like what CS Lewis said about temptation "You find out the strength of the wind by facing it, not by lying down..." (paraphrasing)... I think it's a similar idea. I know I'm that much stronger because I have faced my pain and dealt with it day after day without something to artificially numb the pain. (I'm not knocking anti-depression drugs here...I believe they have a place too). Anyway, good thoughts Molly.

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  14. You don't know me and I feel a little intrusive by reading your blog, but I couldn't help myself. I found your blog through Tami's blog. We are related sort of, in that our husbands are cousins.
    I wanted to tell you that you have done a beautiful job with your blog and I was so inspired to love and appreciate my two little girls so much more. I was so thankful for the opportunity to cry and celebrate a little with you.
    You have such a beautiful daughter. Since the early death of my father I have always thought that the Lord takes those that are the most special for the work he has up there. Truly, your daughter is one of those special spirits that our Heavenly Father needed. Thank you again for sharing your special story and please forgive the intrusion.
    May the Lord bless you and your husband.

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