Why the sadness?

I hope not to weigh you down, but maybe offer some hope, to anyone who needs it in the face of sadness.

Here’s what got me sad this weekend:

– My dear friend emailed his annual update on battling Lyme disease yesterday. He’s in constant pain. 5 years ago when I was in the hospital close to death he was there so often, massaging my feet! In constant pain himself even in the act of serving me. I will always be in debt to his love. Now we live far apart. I used to be able to be there for him. Go for walks and talk. Now I don’t know what I can do.

– He told me that my other close friend (who’s been suffering chronic pain for years) just got diagnosed with Lyme disease. And his daughter and wife too. No! Punch to the gut. I don’t know what I can do to help my friends. I’m so grateful to hear from them, yet my heart hurts. I wish I could help.

– Yesterday my daughter invited her friend to church with us. When she & my wife dropped her off at home, they watched as her older sister smacked her hard across the face then punched her, yelling, “that’s my tank top!” as her mom looked on laughing. Cruelty straight from the Cinderella movie, right before their eyes. Then I was told of more stories of verbal and physical abuse she has told my daughter about. There has got to be something we can do to help. Today we will make some calls to friends on that.

But these are just a few who I am suddenly aware of who have been dealing with pain for a while now. Why am I so blind to the pain and suffering people are going through all around me?

Who else am I oblivious to?

Probably so many. So caught up in my own little selfish world.

Feeling discouraged about the things not going perfectly according to my plans. Wah! Poor me! Sheesh.

I’m completely pain free. I have an abundance of time, and money, and loving family, and friends, and opportunity.

And yet sometimes I’m discouraged because everything’s not perfect?

Well, I think I should feel sad for a while at least. I think I’d have no heart if those things didn’t bring sadness.

But I felt sad before too — a different sad. The hollow kind of selfish sad. The sad that comes from not caring very deeply about others. The sad that comes from not serving fully, compassionately, regularly.

Why haven’t I written much lately for just one example?

I think pride. And distraction.

Pride is selfish. It has no love to share. It wants pleasure, not sacrifice. It doesn’t deeply care about others, it seeks its own self-interest.

I constantly battle pride.

I feel like I’ve been losing more often than winning lately.

That thought feels sad and heavy because I wonder if I can ever really win.

Yeah, I know I can win for a moment, or a day. I can live in love for a while. But I have fallen back to selfishness so much, so often lately, that it feels discouraging to even try anymore sometimes. It feels daunting and impossible. I think back on recent years being much more committed to giving unselfishly each day and that seems unreachable now for some reason.

Hmmm…well now that I’m reading it, that sure is some stinking thinking right there!!

The reality is I will battle pride the rest of my life every single day.

I battled it years ago just like now. I just haven’t always gotten all psyched out and discouraged about it. I’m sure the pride battle will be harder or easier at times, but there has to be opposition in life or else growth and progress would be impossible.

It’s the way it is supposed to be! There’s nothing to fear or worry about.

The truth is I’m here to conquer pride anew with LOVE each day.

To re-learn to love every day. To forgive myself and others every day. To let go of the past mistakes every day and return again to love. To stay committed to growth and not fret about perfection. To just give love and compassion — to everyone — in any way I can.

Yeah.

That’s a much more helpful thought. That feels way better. No, I’m not perfect, but I don’t need to be. And I can do at least something today to love.

And love is the antidote to pride and the cure to sadness and the source of joy.

And really, if I’m honest, I am better than I have been giving myself credit for. My children have a father who cuddles with them, plays with them, and holds them accountable almost always out of love. My children are safe, and loved in their home. And so many more things.

And I would bet you’re a lot better than you give yourself credit for too.

It’s easy to get discouraged looking forward at all the ways I could be better – but looking back at progress can instantly shift the feelings and improve the perspective.

Today I can focus on giving love as best I can and forgive myself when I fail.

That feels good.

For starters, I’ll share these thoughts with you.

But then there’s got to be something I can do to help that sweet girl who appears to be getting abused. It makes me feel sick to think what may be going on behind closed doors. If you have any suggestions on how to help please reply and let me know.

One thing I’m not going to do is give hate to those hurting her. They must be suffering a lot of pain themselves to be hurting an innocent 11 year old girl like that. I’m going to send loving thoughts toward them. I invite you to do the same.

Part of me would lash out in anger at those people.

But I don’t believe that’s love speaking.

I believe love would want to heal their suffering too.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading. I hope you are well. Here’s to living in love today!

I’m pretty sure that’s the only way to truly make today amazing 🙂

~Aaron

1 Comment

  1. Emily Reply

    Aaron, you are a great father and person. I can relate to the highs and lows of the “pride cycle” from being too prideful to being humbled and back to prideful again. We do have to fight off pride our I whole lives long. Thank for sharing your insights. I am sorry to hear about the pain your friends and neighbors are experiencing. Hopefully your family’s friendship can lighten the load and even dissipate the pain if possible. My heart goes out to them and you as well (even though your trials may by minor compared at times in these days if plenty). I appreciate the reminder to let love be the guiding force instead of pride.

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