I am sad most of the time.
Occasionally depressed; not too often. Mostly just sad.
Call it blue.
There are all kinds of reasons contributing to that, most of which don’t bear going into.
Oh, I can put on a smile and muddle through. I can keep it together in most social situations. I can sometimes even call on a show of sharp wit and an illusion of charm.
But I spend most of the time sad, and it’s a pain in the soul because sadness makes it harder to think, to focus, to perform, to excel, to multitask … even to uni-task. Sadness makes it harder to prioritize, socialize, look into others’ eyes. Sadness makes you alone and keeps you alone and alone makes sadness both less and more difficult to bear.
Less because you’re not burdening others with it.
More because your bearing it yourself.
Sharing it can make it worse because you may find yourself sharing someone else’s sadness too, at a time when you don’t feel you can bear your own.
Sharing sadness can make it better because you sometimes find someone who can help bear it with you.
When I am profoundly sad and alone, there is something that makes it bearable even when nothing can make it better.
He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. ~ Isaiah 53:3
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
Jesus wept. ~ John 11:33-35
Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” ~ Matthew 26:38-39
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. ~ Romans 8:26
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. ~ Hebrews 4:15
Don’t get me wrong. None of this magically takes away the sadness. None of this miraculously eliminates the reasons contributing to it. None of it is rainbow unicorn photos on Facebook with cheery Bible verses chasing away clouds on brilliant sunbeamy backgrounds. None of it is a guarantee. None of it is a promise of better soon or think positive or pray confidently or best life now.
It’s simply an account of a Man who is God, who understands and shares. So much so that He shares His own Spirit within us to groan with us when words simply will not suffice.
I taught Romans 8:26 last Sunday. I confessed that until I studied the verse last week, I had always misread into it a misconception: that somehow the Holy Spirit provides the words God will understand when we don’t have the words to say. That’s not what the verse says at all. It says that the Spirit intercedes for us through wordless groans.
He groans with us.
So that we do not have to groan alone.
I wish that I had gained that insight earlier in life, sooner than a week ago.
It would have made the aloneness less alone. It would have made the blue less midnight and more aqua. It would have made the sadness lighter to bear.
Lighter by half.