another thing, i’m feeling more encouraged, after reading that book, “The Year I Got Everything I Wanted.” it’s a bit curious because the book deals a lot with how sad he is, but that’s one of the things i like about it. so often we feel the need to pretend like everything’s OK and great and has a cherry on top. but he just airs it all, and that’s so comforting. because then, as i’m struggling with those sorts of feelings (as we all do, from time to time), i don’t feel so weird or alone or messed up for them–even though the rest of the world goes on grinning and all that, i know it’s not just me, someone else has been there and felt that, too.

here were some of the things he had to say about despair and sadness, all influenced by the Old Testament book Ecclesiastes (written by Solomon, one of my favorites from the Bible, who asked for wisdom and received it). these are all pretty much direct quotes from different places in the book:

  • Ecclesiastes 7:3: “frustration is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart.”
  • “it is only in feeling the depths of our despair that we are ever able to experience joy again. in other words, miss the sorrow of Good Friday and miss the joy of Easter. or, “a sad face is good for the heart,” which is what Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes. miss the sorrow, miss the joy… [the author’s friend told him]: ‘you see, my job as a pastor is to help people fully enter into their pain.'”
  • “i wish i wasn’t so sad, but i understand you have to do things like this to get my attention. this whole year has been about me, hasn’t it? sorrow it seems drives me to Jesus, which is particularly fitting because sorrow was so intrinsic to who Jesus was.”
  • “i find myself being half-present, unsure why i’m unable to concentrate, unsure why i’m unable to plumb the depths of my sorrow and move from an inward to an outward focus.”
  • “we are only able to be fully present with others once we’ve confronted our own demons. those who haven’t dealt with their demons are distracted.”
  • “it’s easier to forgive someone when they show you how wounded they are. usually in the heat of an argument, people exude an “i’m right, you’re wrong” attitude, and i never get to see how wounded they are, how weak. but tonight as [his ex-girlfriend] sobbed, i saw how pointless it was to hate.”