Have you ever woken up in the morning and just felt sad? You look at your life and it hits you that you are fat, ugly,and wearing a mismatching outfit, that everything you say and do is wrong, that you have no future, and that nobody loves you. And even worse, you realize that this is a truer sight, that all your previous happiness was merely an illusion occasioned by a pair of rose-colored glasses. I know there is no reason for my sadness, and yet this intellectual knowledge does nothing to soothe my heart, which just cries and cries, weeping the sad tears of a lonely child.
What do you do? I usually have to take a shower, change my clothes, clean my room, and sit in the chapel. I have to restart the day, try again where the first one failed. Maybe I am just tired. Maybe it is something I ate, or didn't eat. Maybe I got an email from a friend that was worded oddly. Maybe I have to make a decision that I don't want to. Any number of little things can make me sadder on a sad day.
Yet even as I cry, I know that there is a reason for my tears, or, rather, that they have significance. I am not talking about the tears you cry when you are suffering in the strict sense, just about that sadness that comes over you at a moment's notice. You seem to be minding your own business, proceeding with the day, but all of a sudden some little thing sets you off and your whole life darkens.
I think that the sadnesses we experience are part of God's plan. Not that He sends sadness to us, but rather that we experience it because we long for something greater than our life here. As St. Augustine wrote, "Thou hast made us for thyself, Oh Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in thee." We cannot argue with him: our hearts feel sad even when our lives are fine. We send up our sighs in this vale of tears, longing for eternal happiness.
At times like these, at least for me, there is no arguing with myself. I can only think of the words of the Lord: "Be still and know that I am God." Take a deep breath. Calm your frenzied souls and minds. God is there, as a Father and Brother, extending His hand to you with the utmost sympathy. As a child of God, there is no need for fear. Don't just hope that He is there, know that He is God. Know that our lives are precious, that we are loved; know that this present sadness is not how things really are. Why is it that we see the darker vision as the truer one? What part of our wounded human nature seriously believes that these little pinpricks of life are truer than the joys of life? Why do the joys seem superficial? They aren't. Joy is lasting where sadness is passing, because joy comes from love. When we love and receive love, we are joyful. Life is meaningful and beautiful, because we have a purpose and goal, because we know God is God and we do not need to trouble ourselves.
That is why St Paul writes, "And now there remain faith, hope, and love, these three: but the greatest of these is love." When we are sad here on earth, we need hope and faith. But if we have sure knowledge of God and His goodness, we do not need faith (belief in things unseen) or hope (confident desire of obtaining a future good), only love that grows and grows infinitely in joy. This joy is the truest reality. For here we "see through a glass darkly," but with God all is revealed and brought to fulfilment.
Be still and know that I am God.