I stand gazing out the kitchen window. Leafy droplets descend from trees, fluttering across the open space of a still-green lawn as they usher in the magical sensation of autumn. The air is crisp–not quite cold, but chilly enough to put on my first sweater of the season. I grab a steaming cup of coffee and open the door to the back deck. Breathe. The fresh morning feeds my soul. Don't miss a smell. A feeling. A color. A sound. Take it all in.
Something sad has happened. Not to me. To the world. I struggle to find sense in it. Meaning. I force myself to see beauty. I flip through pages to read the words of Hugh Mackay.
“I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that - I don’t mind people being happy - but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down 3 things that made you happy today before you go to sleep”, and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position - it’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness”. Ask yourself “is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.”
I feel the beginnings of that "bad day", and fight with my own emotions. I fear the sadness. But am I whole? May I stay a moment in this anguish? I give myself that permission and sit as seconds turn into minutes. The hour escapes, while thoughts seep deeper into my mind. Sadness. Disappointment. Frustration. Failure.
Tears flow down my face, washing away fear. Contradiction rears its head and I feel moved to conquer. To make a change. As one season turns into the next, I understand that this temporary despair may lead to my next conquest. Today, I might sit. Tomorrow, may I move.