Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sitting with Sadness

One of the things I've started trying to attend to as a parent is letting my kids feel sad. It's hard. I want to talk them out of feeling sad or frustrated, to move the frame so they just see the happy things. The other day my son lost two rounds of Candyland and he was despondent. He sobbed for about ten minutes. I wanted to say, "Really? Candyland? Buck up, mister. It's no big deal." But to him it was a huge deal. Losing is very sad for a competitive six-year-old. He sat on my lap and I made soothing sounds and waited. After a while he stopped crying and started talking about something else.

For most of my life I have distracted myself from things that are sad. It's much easier for me to be angry, or feel guilty, or tell myself it's not worth being sad about. That's one of the things I learned from talking to a therapist. My therapist doesn't take it personally if I feel sad. Most of the time, she'd nod her head and say something like, "Of course you're sad! Life should not be this way!"

The problem with sadness, for me, is that there is nothing to do about it. It just is. And it hurts. The only thing to do is feel it, say it, complain to God about it, expect it will end sometime, and wait.

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Thanks for using this space to share your encouraging words.