As a priest, every day I deal with sadness:
- whenever I celebrate a funeral Mass
- whenever I anoint people who are sick
- when people ask me to join them for prayer for their special intention.
Sadness is always related to letting go. In death, we say goodbye to a loved one. In sickness, we let go of health and the many things we used to do. In the many things we say goodbye to in life, we let go of what used to be and know that life will now be different.
Tomorrow we celebrate the memorial of Saint Mary Magdalene. Because of death of someone she loved very much she was in grief. Because of her grief, she did not recognize Jesus.
Hence, three things about dealing with grief:
- Grief is a sign that we have love and that we have loved much. Because of this, the goodbye is difficult. Because of this, the letting go is difficult. The deeper the love, the more difficult the goodbye.
- There is a time for everything. There is time to grief. But hopefully not forever. After sometime, one has to say, it is time to hold on and now there is a time to move on.
- In grieving, do not look down but look up. In the Gospel, Mary Magdalene did not recognize God because she was looking down. Regardless of what season of life we are in, God is with us. Hence the challenge to look for God in our grief.
There is a saying that we only miss the sun when it is raining, we only miss home when we are away, and we only miss someone when the person is gone. Such is the reality of life, happiness and sadness go hand in hand.