Sometimes Sadness Needs to Speak
With the evening sun flickering through the trees, the smell of freshly cut hay filling each breath, and the chirping of a passing bird accenting the crunch of gravel under my running shoes, the lines between my past and present blur. I turn into the driveway of my childhood home, chest heaving and sweat sliding down the back of my knees, and then stare out at the lake until the sun slips from the sky. I am alone with a whirlpool of emotions that have been brewing since my return to Canada, three weeks ago. Joy and sadness rise like a fist from my chest and congregate behind my eyes while my knees wrestle the impulse to sink onto the grassy lawn where I could weep until my insides empty.
I can’t tell you exactly what has me near tears. Perhaps it’s the physical ache in my heart for the little boys I fell in love with at a Rwandan orphanage, the nostalgia over my former Vancouver life and summers spent with friends who lived within walking distance of both my apartment and the beach, or the isolation of resorting to Skype friendships with new soul sisters from all over the world. Regardless of the exact cause, I think bittersweet sadness accompanies the ending of any great adventure, especially one filled with the incredible new connections, new cultures, and new convictions, I discovered on my Adventure of Hope.
Over the last year, I have learned that taking a running leap from the life you have always known into a brand new adventure can come with a wistful sense of loss. Thankfully, I have also learned to respect when sadness rises up and to give it a voice. It’s not easy to overcome the fear of being vulnerable and to admit if you feel buried under “imperfect” emotions like sadness or loss. But, I have learned sadness doesn’t last forever and if I can pay attention to what it might have to teach me and then give myself a chance to feel the hell out of it, I end up in a place where Fresh Chapters and New Adventures can begin.
So, thank you for giving me this opportunity to let sadness speak. In case you or anyone you know feels adrift in your own sea of sadness, here are a couple of quotes that always pull me through and remind me that it’s all part of the journey…
“There is some kind of a sweet innocence in being human- in not having to be just happy or just sad- in the nature of being able to be both broken and whole, at the same time.”
How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning of all peoples, the myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses, who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.
So you must not be frightened, dear Mr. Kappus, if a sadness rises up before you larger than any you have ever seen; if a restiveness, like light and cloud-shadows, passes over your hands and over all you do. You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall. . . .
- Rainer Rilke