THE MAN sat there at his computer, and, as he looked through old digital photographs and other sweet and sour remembrances, he sobbed. He knew not what it was he was sobbing about, but it got more and more intense—he got untidy, real messy. He wasn’t worried or concerned. He knew it was therapeutic. He knew he needed it, even though he’d have preferred to be happier. He somehow sensed the greater reality of pain, and being sad was allowing the pain its own voice. He was allowing his unknown and unspeakable pain its expression, though he knew it to have no bounds. It was a leap of faith to let go emotionally.
The man spent himself that way for an hour or more. He could have taken longer, but the purpose had been achieved already. He had converted the inexpressible into an expression of grief that actually meant something.
He felt vaguely and posthumously satisfied, but humbly realistic to know that beyond the moment’s healing nothing really had been achieved.
But that’s okay. The man knew that the moment was all he had; it’s all we ever have.
Enjoying Sadness for the Faculty of Expression
Pain is otherwise left untapped. Sadness is a salve and a valve. It breaches the walls of an intact china mausoleum and, instead of shattering that magnificent facility of lament, it respects its role—the keeper of all pain—and gently allows the overflow so the brittle material is not exposed to breaking point pressure.
The faculty of expression is a powerhouse of blessing, though sadness, of its own, is nothing to rave about. Such a faculty of expression—to sob one’s guts out—and, yes, by this author’s direct experience—is somehow necessary; for a good many people.
It sounds like an oxymoron—to enjoy a sadness. It isn’t. It’s one of those spiritual paradoxes of the secret life known only to a select few, but it should be more broadly known.
We all have pain; unspeakable pain. There is more in this reservoir of emotional indifference than any of us would reckon on, and the potential is even great, i.e. for the issue of grief.
Anyone who loves in this life will experience grief, and pain is what underlies all grief. And there is so much pain beyond grief. Sadness, as a valve and a salve, is thereby essential.
Sadness is a vital part of the healing process, for it’s the language we speak in expressing our pain. Better sadness than unbridled and vitriolic anger. Sadness is a genuine therapy as we allow the Spirit of God to dress the wounds of our inner, unspeakable anguish.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.