Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Sadness 'n Me

“Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.” Kahlil Gibran.

I don’t think folks who work with me would describe me as a sad person. In fact, unless people are misleading me, I’m viewed as a generally upbeat, cheerful kinda guy. That’s good. We’ve all worked around those who practice the “misery loves company” religion, and folks like that can drag a workplace down.

My wife apparently doesn’t view me as a sad-sack either. One day, after we'd been married for a couple of years, she looked at me, and out of the blue asked, “What happened to you, anyway?” “Whataya mean?” “Well, I remember you when you were seventeen. You were always so serious, so wrapped up in thought, so . . . pensive. And now. . .” She giggles. “Now, you’re such a goofball.”

“Thanks a lot,” I said, wearing my best mock "I'm offended" expression. “I didn’t mean that in a bad way,” she maintained. “I like it that you’re more willing to be silly.”

It’s true. As a teenager, when Rhonda got to know me, I tended to be lost in thought, brooding, and pondering all there was to feel sadness over. I didn’t smile a lot, and I tended to live inside my head.

Maybe flying for a living changed my demeanor. I dunno. My outlook on life just seemed to change as I grew older. I held to the notion that life is full of sadness, and that’s all the more reason to bask in joy, humor, and laughter when they come around.

And yet, nothing seems to stir my creative juices like sadness. I love to read sad tales, listen to sad songs, and write about sad moments. Heck, I could write blog after blog entry about homesickness, and how I miss my wife and son when I’m away. Folks kind enough to stay with me would soon no doubt think, “Geez, Hal, you have a lot to feel thankful for, so give us a break, okay?” I wouldn’t blame them.

Still, I'm drawn to the exploration of blue. George MacDonald wrote, “Beauty and sadness always go together. Nature thought beauty too rich to go forth upon the earth without a meet alloy.” That’s so true of my state of mind when I’m leaving home. I’m wrapped in sad when I leave my “real” life, and yet, that sadness grounds me in all I have to feel appreciative about, and it spotlights the beauty of the little things in my life, like listening to my wife and son laugh together.

Also, I’m afraid to leave it alone. I’m afraid that if I leave it alone, it’ll grow into a big scary monster—depression, maybe—and it’ll sneak up and bite me on the ass. Sadness needs to be aired out, in my book. Leave the door locked on sadness, and there’s a risk mold will grow.

I’ve known people who avoid sadness at any cost, or so it seems. Sometimes, I feel sorry for them. Why? Well, I can best express my feelings on that with another quote. Erich Fromm wrote, “One cannot be deeply responsive to the world without being saddened very often.”

And hey, some goofballs want to be responsive to the world.


Redlefty said...

Agreed. Sadness is an integral part of every human being. No need to squash it, as long as it doesn't overtake us.

David said...

"...Sadness needs to be aired out, in my book..."
Write it Hal, Your Book.
An empty hotel bed without the soft breathing of another, without the dog cruising around seeking a softer spot...
The juxtaposition, sadness of seperation vs a good job well done.
How could we be happy, understand happiness, without appreciating sadness?
"Sad Songs Say So Much"!