Friday, November 7, 2014

The joy of sadness

I work with many men who are struggling with sexual addictions.  A few of them are accountable to me.  We text each other, encourage each other and pray for one another.

I wanted to share a quick story about one of them.  I'll call him Elmer.

Elmer has recently moved, and he's been having a hard time with the move because he's lost many friends over the distance.  He sent me a text a few weeks ago that said, "I am missing my church and my friends, and I realize I am feeling sad."

Yeah... so?  You might say.

Let me tell you why this is significant.  Most guys, as they start to be accountable about addictive sin patterns in their lives, will ask for prayer and support right at the moment they are struggling with temptation.  Or worse, after they have given in.

But Elmer was starting to grasp how it works.  To recognize the feeling, to talk to someone about it, and to invite Jesus into it, instead of just numbing it.

I was reminded of this as I was walking to the train and saw this sign.  I snapped this picture of it, and I now know it's a song lyric, but it made me really think of the spiritual significance of this.

The only joy of sadness is that we can feel it.  And if we just medicate it, if we just numb our emotional pain, we won't even know why it was there.

Three cheers for Elmer, who is recognizing long-neglected feelings, instead of numbing them.


  1. Great post and point Andrew.
    A friend of mine said to me just recently - "but what to do about this sadness?" (he is grieving) and I said "I think you just be sad."

    And it might sound crazy, but since I work with kids - this immediately came into my head

    "we're going on a bear hunt...there's no way over it, no way under it, no way 'round it - gotta go through it..."

    For myself, I recently went through a time of prolonged sadness that would come and go in waves but was always close by - I was a bit surprised to find that the act of acknowledging that I was sad felt respectful, honest and honouring of myself. Like I feel if/when I extend that same respect to a sad friend. I started to do little things to let myself be sad for a bit, like writing down what I have lost, and what I was missing at that moment.

  2. Denial gets you nowhere good, that's for sure.