Love & Sadness

The Secret of Joy

The Secret of Joy

Last night I mused on what lessons I would wish to teach a child yet grown. What could I teach her that would help her stay whole as she faced the troubles of the world?

Sadness. I would wish to teach her about sadness.

Teach her, so she understands its incessant inevitability in life. That sadness serves a purpose; it can be a friend that teaches us to better love and how to grow. But, that we should never let it stay too long. And how to see when it has stayed too long in others.

I would tell her the story of two friends, Love and Sadness. Love was the sun... big, bright and warm. Love could shine its light on anything in the world. Yet, whenever Love shined its light on something, a shadow would appear. That shadow, I would explain, is Sadness... almost hidden, dark and cold. You cannot have one without the other. Wherever you shine love, you will always find sadness.

But remember, Love and Sadness are friends... Genuine love will never TRY to make you feel sad. Yet, when you genuinely love, you will hurt when they hurt, you will ache for their safety, and ache when they are gone, you will share their pain and struggles and long for their best. When you love, there will always be some sadness.

Love and sadness teach us: compassion, humility, empathy, gratitude. And this is what makes Love and Sadness our friends too.

Sometimes a shadow can get so big that you can get lost in it for a little while. That's ok. Take your time. But, forever keep looking for the light of love to pull you out from it.

You will meet people who have decided to live in their shadow. When they've lived a long time in a shadow, they forget how to shine their light. They'll want to make you feel sad like they do. Recognize who these people are by the way they make you feel. And instead of living in the shadow with them, shine your light reminding them how warm love feels. If they still choose the shadow, which many of them will, at least for a moment they saw your light.

So, love big and love fully... shine your light all over the world. But, always know the shadow's there. And when you catch a glimpse of it, take its lessons, then let it go. Never choose to live in the shadow.

"The secret of joy is the mastery of pain." -Anais Nin

Photo Credit Michelle Magdalena