I don’t like being sad. Do you?
Being sad means I no longer feel like laughing at someone’s joke or daydreaming in the sun.
Being sad can mean I get headaches from crying, or find it difficult to concentrate during lectures, sermons or long conversations.
And yet, the truth is, when tragedy strikes our loved ones, it can actually be helpful to be sad.
3 reasons it’s good to be sad:
1. Sadness is reality
Let us not lose sight of the fact that when someone we love is suffering we ought to be sad.
It’s not merely ‘okay’ or ‘acceptable’ – but it is good.
If your heart does not break at the new distress of someone you love, something is not right.
Feeling sad means you’re human.
It means you have a living, breathing, sympathetic heart, and that is good. We were not created to be stone statues, but living people created in the likeness of a God who weeps as well as laughs.
Sadness is the right response to tragic reality. It means you see the world as it is. Life is not all happy games and hopes fulfilled. It is just as equally a dark valley and night time tears.
To see and feel sorrow when it is present is good.
Sadness is the right response to tragedy. It is part of being human – tweet!
Continue reading “3 reasons it is good to be sad after a chronic illness diagnosis”
Sadness after a chronic illness diagnosis, that’s valid, right?
It’s a good thing… yes?
Well – sort of.
Sadness can be restrictive
Strange as it may seem, having mixed emotions can actually be a saving grace.
If we are sad over our Loved One’s suffering, but simultaneously frustrated at the doctors, angry at God or jealous of others, no one feeling has complete control.
After all, we’re only human, and cannot plumb the depths of ‘anger’ at the exact same time as we are reaching into the extent and intensity of ‘grief’.
With many emotions comes also many options for relief, more opportunities for someone to say ‘me too’.
Yet when we are simply sad, it can become all-consuming. We can easily develop ‘tunnel vision’, and our sadness may push aside every other happiness.
In one sense that’s okay. It’s not wrong to feel grief, and immense grief will be felt immensely.
But it can also be harmful, because we all need some measure of distance. Continue reading “The 3 dangers of being sad after a chronic illness diagnosis”
I hesitate to share this. It’s personal. It’s ‘deep’… and this is in itself is normally an indicator that I shouldn’t post it on the World Wide Web.
We’ve looked at why it’s okay to cry in public and also how to respond. Now this is my story…
My story of public grief (and what it taught me about God and chronic illness)
I believe it’s important.
This experience was one of the times I have seen God teaching me ‘in the moment’. It was a valuable lesson – and so I share it, not for sympathy or scandal, but so you might also see the God I saw that day.
Continue reading “What I learnt when I cried in church”
What do we do when we find ourselves crying in church? – Is this a silly question? I don’t think it is.
I like practical answers.
If something uncomfortable has to happen, I want to know how I can fix it (or, preferably, avoid it).
What do I do when I find myself crying? Is this a question that needs to be answered?
I think it is.
Because weeping in public is not a common occurrence in Western culture. We generally try to avoid it – and so when we weep in public it is because we are overcome with grief. Tears take us by surprise; we are unprepared.
And personally, I’d rather not be. So let’s think about it now, before we find ourselves in that situation.
What should we do when we find ourselves overcome with emotion in public place?
Continue reading “How to cope with grief in a public place”
I find it quite difficult to respond to: ‘How are you?’
It doesn’t seem like an appropriate answer.
It seems a bit silly to even have to say this, but when a Loved One is diagnosed with a chronic illness, it can make us feel sad.
It sounds ridiculous. Of course when someone is sick it is going to make us sad. But I genuinely believe it’s not that simple. At least it wasn’t for me.
4 reasons we find it hard to be sad after a diagnosis
1. Sadness is unexpected
To be sad – and only sad – is quite rare.
Life is complex, and so we are often experience several emotions at a time, particularly in the wake of a chronic illness diagnosis.
Our grief is often tainted with anger or bitterness or frustration, or even exhaustion. As a result, when we find ourselves ‘simply’ sad, and ‘only’ grieving, it can feel a bit odd. It is an experience we are not prepared for, and don’t know how to cope with.
This can be uncomfortable and confusing. It was for me. Continue reading “4 reasons admitting we are sad is not that easy”
Perhaps you have been here:
A knock at the door.
It’s a friend, a neighbour. She has just popped over for a chat.
She holds a covered dish:
‘Cooked a bit extra and thought you could do with a home cooked meal’.
She asks how we are, how our Loved One is.
She complains for a while about her work, and how tired she is from the high tea she went to on the weekend. She has another date with friends in a few days but unfortunately it coincides with the birthday of a family member:
‘It’s always the way isn’t it? Everything at once, so frustrating.’
She shifts on the door step:
‘Ah well, no rush to return the dish – we’ll be away for a few weeks.
Going on a cruise. Just a small one. I’m a bit worried actually, I’m terrified I’m coming down with a cold. There’s nothing worse than a sniffly nose!
Anyway, got to rush, I have a hair dressers appointment this afternoon. All the best!’
You juggle the still-warm meal and close the door, the hot smell of cheese and silver foil clouding the air.
After the door is firmly shut and the neighbour out of sight, you give the wood a short, hard kick.
It’s not fair!
Continue reading “Why aren’t I allowed to say that chronic illness is not fair?”
As we know, chronic illness goes on and on and on.
There is no end, no use by date. This is a problem.
Because we are only human. We find it difficult to stretch out our emotions. A state of perpetual excitement, for example, is extremely difficult to maintain.
So is a state of sympathy.
Yet what happens when the tragedy has not passed (and may not pass) and our sympathetic feelings, our desire to be involved, our sadness in what is, has come to an end?
Do we simply give up?
Do we stop Watching?
First of all let us ask ourselves a probing question:
Why is lack of sympathy a problem?
Why is it a problem that we no longer feel interested in our Loved One’s suffering? Why is it an issue that we don’t wince as they wince any longer?
Is it really that wrong?
I suspect we want to instinctively answer ‘yes’. Yes, there is something wrong when we don’t care about suffering anymore.
That answer is right.
But it’s also wrong.
Everything becomes normal
Continue reading “4 things to do when you run out of sympathy”