Exploring the tough questions about life, faith and Christ.
I am a huge fan of the Avett Brothers. They are an American folk rock band that I began listening to in the beginning of high school. This year they released their ninth full album titled True Sadness. In the chorus of the song with the same title, the band sings, “'Cause I still wake up shaken by dreams And I hate to say it but the way it seems Is that no one is fine Take the time to peel a few layers and you will find True sadness.” While some of my friends have always thought their music sounded depressing, I have never agreed until this album. Aside from the actual sound of the music, what made me like this album less was the overwhelming sense of sadness that came with listening to it. In this album, and song in particular, it’s hard to ignore the sorrow that this band has felt and recognizes in the world. Listening to it, I couldn’t help but confront the sadness in my own life and the lives of people around me. That’s when I began to feel tension because
“Christians aren’t supposed to be sad.”
For Christians, sadness can come with guilt and shame because it toys with this idea we’ve created that says Christians must have a great life, always filled with God’s joy, and full of hope for the future. So many times I would I would get frustrated with myself and try to put on an act anytime I was feeling sad, angry, or hopeless around people, Christian or not, because I knew that I was supposed to be an example of Jesus. Representing Jesus is where the myth that Christians cannot be sad fails, though, because Jesus would get sad too. Jesus was always moved to compassion by the people around him and even wept for us. By confronting my sadness, I actually felt closer to God because I realized that He is a God of passion and justice and understands my pain. I also began connecting with parts of scripture that I’d never related to before. In Ecclesiastes we are reassured “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:… a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” We are human and are expected to feel the full spectrum of emotion; it’s how we react to our innate responses to life that may matter more. Christianity isn’t about denying the sadness we feel, it’s about turning to God and community for comfort. Being honest and open with our emotions is how we can connect with God in a deeper way. It can also be the beginning of healing or transformation from the pain and sorrow we feel. The song by the Avett Brothers later states, “I cannot go on with this evil inside me, I step out my front door and I feel it surround me, Just know the kingdom of God is within you, Even though the battle is bound to continue.”
From the election to family members with diseases, it seems like there has been so much to be sad about lately. I, like many people I assume, could make a list of everything that upsets me in the world. However, I won’t because simply naming what is wrong without questioning why it bothers me would just be complaining. While I have very real reasons for feeling sad, being reprimanded for complaining throughout my life has made me drawn back instead of sharing my unhappiness. There is a difference between voicing genuine heartache and just complaining. So by just being open about pain I felt, I’ve realized that most of my sadness came from spiritual homesickness. C.S. Lewis explains this as living in the world, but longing to be brought to Heaven where everything will be perfect again. He wrote, “Creatures are not born for desires unless satisfaction for these desires exists. A baby feels hunger; well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim; well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire; well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world....” We were made for more than what earth has to offer so we are bound to be left unsatisfied and upset sometimes while we’re here—it’s normal, especially for Christians. We were created for freedom, not oppression; love, not hate; health, not disease. We have an all perfect Father who we have been separated from; I can’t think of anything that would produce more justifiably true sadness than that.
A project focused on helping students learn and grow together; exploring the ways that we are part of a group of people who are learning and growing alongside us.
There is unity in the differences- this project is to illustrate the beauty in those differences.