For a majority of my life, I prided myself on not "feeling" too much. I did not like becoming emotionally attached to people or places or really much of anything. I've come to the realization that I am probably afraid of my emotions, or feeling too intensely. For whatever reason, particularly in my younger years, I wanted the emotional range of a rock (because I'm a ninja... )
However! I recently had an experience where I felt so incredibly sad. I mean, physically hurt (how can being sad do that?!?) I was even crying about it. I CRIED! So, I did what I knew would make me feel better. I prayed. I let God know how I was feeling. And we just talked it all out. Then, I proceeded to read my scriptures. As I was reading, the craziest thing began to happen. I felt happy. Or relieved. Or peaceful. Or really a combination of all of those feelings (so if there is an adjective that I am forgetting that describes that, let me know please). BUT! At the same time, I still hurt. It was as though God had "taken the edge off" and I was able to handle my feelings better, but the hurt was still there. And yet, I still felt happy!
I was so confused by the duality of the situation. IS that even possible? Can we feel two such conflicting emotions at the same time? I had thought I was only allowed to feel one. I can be happy or I can be sad. I did not think I was allowed or capable of feeling both.
But the more I thought about it- the more I realized that the genesis of those feelings was two entirely different sources. My situation was still sad, and those feelings remained. However, in allowing the Savior to love and care for me, I was also able to feel happiness.
I think still feeling the sadness is the point. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is not a means of writing a completely perfect life story. It is however a way that, "weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning," (Psalm 30:5). I am not sure of too many instances in our lives where conditions change immediately. We do not get magic buttons that fix everything. Usually change, though sometimes rapid, is a process. While Christ has provided ways for us to regain happiness, taking the journey from sorrow to joy must also partially be our responsibility. We decide to more thoroughly invite and allow the power of the Atonement to heal all those parts of us that are hurting. Like I said, initially, perhaps it is just taking off the edge. But the more we turn to Christ, instead of just getting by, we are strengthened to find happiness in a situation that had previously caused us distress.
I am grateful for that particular experience and the way it caused me to think. I do not have to completely disregard my feelings of sadness. But! I do not have to stay sad. And for a time, as I work through my feelings with the help of the Lord, they can coexist. And that's okay. As I was thinking about this experience, I kept thinking of the hymn, "Abide with Me!". I am so grateful for a Savior who will always abide with me. I hope we each can take more time in our day to day lives in realizing He truly is there to help turn our sorrow into joy.
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