Love In A Big World: Change and sadness

September 22nd, 2017

Today, September 22nd, marks the autumnal equinox. It is the time when the sun crosses the plane of the earth's equator, making night and day of approximately equal length all over the earth. The leaves are falling, the air is cooler, and daylight is shorter. The plants and animals are preparing for winter. Before this time of hibernation, all of nature celebrates with glorious color and bountiful harvest. 

Although change is celebrated, it also causes sadness because it means saying goodbye to what is familiar. All change is loss. During this change of seasons, we lose sunlight, heat, and blossoms.

The natural world often serves as a sign for what we are experiencing in our minds and hearts. Take a moment to think about what changes you and your family are facing. Perhaps it is a mid-semester move or a new job. How do you feel about these changes?

Maybe the sadness goes deeper. With the holidays quickly approaching, you may be reminded of loved ones you’ve lost. Or maybe you are struggling with unfulfilled dreams for career, relationship or children.

As I was talking with a friend this morning and acknowledging my own heartache, he wisely said, “Sadness lets us know we’re alive.” In her book Because of Winn-Dixie, Kate DiCamillo addresses our “sorrow-filled world” by introducing us to Littmus lozenges:

“That’s the secret,” she said. “That’s why Littmus made a fortune. He manufactured a piece of candy that tasted sweet and sad at the same time.” (115)

That bittersweetness is the beauty of life. Since I’ve become acquainted with grief, I know greater joy than ever before. I’m learning to breathe through the melancholy moments.

One of my children refuses to feel because he is afraid of the pain that will be uncovered. A few years ago, he told me that if he starts to cry he will never stop. However, it’s important for us to express our thoughts and feelings. We must write about them, sing about them, paint about them, talk about them…get them out!

As we process our emotions, we will see that although all change is loss, all change also brings opportunity; it’s all in the way we look at it. Charles DuBois (1804-1867), a Belgian naturalist said, “The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.” Take a walk outside and consider the changes in your big world.

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