I have done some soul searching. Well, soul sorting would probably be more accurate. Anyway, I have been thinking. And this time, I have been thinking about feelings.
Feeling is kind of a big deal. Well, when it is real. If you have ever felt something, and I mean really felt something, you might understand how overwhelmingly powerful it is. It can make your head rush, your soul lift or fall, and even literally make salty water come out of your face (this would be crying for those of you who did not understand my reference). And my "thinking" escapade has led me to believe that I am totally and irrevocably in love with powerful emotion.
In fact, my favorite emotion is currently... bitter sweetness? I think? I enjoy sad things. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas? Loved it. Cried and sobbed 'till I thought I would be sick. Hachi: A Dog's Tale? Amazing! Loved/hated the ending so much. So sad. I search the world for sad things, because you know why? In one plain and simple statement, to me, sadness is beautiful.
But of course, somebody (don't know if it was me or Satan's little minions dancing around me) whispered in my ear consistently that I do not have the authority to say that sadness is beautiful. They back up their argument by claiming I have not known true depression, I have never really known the overwhelming pit of despair some battle against day by day, I have never lost a loved one, I have never known any loss and therefore would be insulting all who are constantly stalked by depression if I were to say I enjoy crying. If, dear reader, you are friends with me on Facebook, you have seen I posted a "little" poem titled The Happy and The Bitter, written by your's truly. In it, I personified these two battling sides of me; the "Happy" side, which enjoys many emotions including sadness, is bullied by the "Bitter", which is in reality the unknown voice that whispers to me the previously mentioned claim about my lack of rights to sobbing. The poem in itself, I suppose, could be considered ironic. I have taken hold of my, you guessed it, emotion, and made something that questioned its own origin, purpose, and authority. Is deep emotion (especially melancholy emotion) wise, or foolish? In fact, why must there be a label for such things at all? Whatever it is, I clutch it like a soft blanket on a daily basis. In the wee hours of the night, or when I create art, or enjoy art, or simply sit, I roll over thoughts in my head. I seem to enjoy thinking quite extensively, and will at some points get lost in it. Maybe my subconscious sees thinking as something similar to truth, which is what I believe all humans crave.
Truth is a solid rock. It brings meaning to a meaningless and constantly shifting world, and so then it is natural to assume that something right and good is beautiful. And enjoyable. This is why, I suppose, I practice thinking so often. The problem is, asking why typically brings about a large sum of confusion. Emotion is such a large part of my life and daily routine, so therefore, that is what I think about a lot of the time. This is why I am writing this post, to question a vital part of my essence. For if something of such importance that demands so much attention is part of my life, I want to be absolutely certain that I am engaging in this activity correctly.
So, lets look at what I know (or what I think I know).
For starters, is God okay with loving emotion so much? I believe that yes, He does indeed enjoy emotion. God didn't just casually throw the universe into existence as if it was no big deal, rather He carefully constructed it, speaking life into His creation. By speaking the universe into existence, He gave a part of Himself to His work. I like to think that God did not simply mumble "Let there be light, or whatever." No! I think He shouted with such extreme passion and authority! If you were to say God did not put passion into His art, you would be wrong. Just look outside! Gaze upon the brilliance of light! Look at the way the sunlight (or moonlight, depending on what time you read this) dances on the ground, the way it simply gives life to everything it touches! Men have tried to replicate this work of art, and have failed. Electricity, no matter how bright, cannot match the beauty that is the pure glory of the Lord's creation. Only God can shine the radiant sun, or bring about a delicate crimson rose, or give a lion it's ferocious roar, or orchestrate the sweet melody of birdsong. God's creation is His art. In the book of Genesis, it says God made it all and saw that it was good. Never does God shy away or critique His masterpiece with ugly comments or discard it to some box in a closet in the corner of His room. When the universe sings of His beauty, never does God say "No... its not really that good, its okay I guess..." No, I say! He cries "Yes! Yes! This is my art! This is my soul! Sing of it! Enjoy it!" The universe is overflowing with the glory of God, with the passion of His soul. He takes all that is purely Him and demonstrates it as a visual feast. So is that part of us that desires to do the same not but the image of God in us? Do not hesitate! Strive! Create! Build! Construct! Whatever it is that the Holy Spirit burns in you, pursue it! What a shame it would be if that flame were snuffed out!
So now knowing that our God is a very emotional God, the question returns: is sadness beautiful? In my mind, just from what I assume, I think yes... and no. ("Oh thanks, Michaela. That really clears things up.") The process of pain is not a lovely experience. Death and destruction is ugly and nobody wants to go through it. However, the things that come from death and destruction can be good... if the victims of this process allow God to show His glory through it. One of the great things about God is that He works through us fragile humans by breaking us. Redemption, love, and forgiveness can only come to those who are willing to accept it. Because we are sinful, we have rebelled against these things. But the beautiful moment comes when we realize that we need those things. That nothing in this world that we thought we needed actually matters, or can give us redemption, love, and forgiveness. Our hearts break, and God's heart breaks for us. We cry out "God, I am so, so filthy and I need you so, so very bad". And so God hears us, and answers us with love. That is the main point of this entire story of life. This single line, this scene, points back to the real reason why anything even exists at all: God's glory. The glorification of God is all throughout everything. And because God is light and beauty, and creation honors Him, this is why sadness is beautiful. Because it all points back to God.
So, why me? Why do I enjoy brokenness above all other emotions? Well, I asked my counselor one day. You know what she said? She said God has given me the gift of feeling deeply. This means that I enjoy sad emotions so that I may have empathy for the broken and suffering. This is true. When I see somebody broken, my heart breaks for them, just as God's heart breaks for us. He has made me so very emotional so that I may help others. Just like Abraham, I was blessed to be a blessing. And so is every member of the body of Christ.
One day in English class, not too long ago, actually, my teacher discussed something called catharsis. Catharsis in some ways means "pleasure taken in sad or tragic literature/music/art". Catharsis gives the experience of something sad or tragic so that awareness and experience can be made from that particular event, without actually having to go through the awful experience itself. For example, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas emits catharsis within the viewer so that it can be made known the ugliness and awfulness of WWII/the Holocaust without the viewer having to actually be a Jew in a concentration camp. I very much enjoyed this movie for many reasons, one of them being that it was filled with truth (which, as I mentioned earlier, can be enjoyed and beautiful). Now, obviously, the truth of the Holocaust was not beautiful. It consisted of the dying of millions of innocent people, in horrible, inhumane, and downright Satanic methods of torture. However, I was made far more aware of the horribleness that is sin and suffering, and learned to appreciate the fact that God is far beyond this suffering and has made good out of it (a lesson learned, the changing of a generation, and probably the prevention of many more awful things that could have happened in the future if the world did not know all that could come of it). So, like I also said earlier, God's glorification. Beauty.
Another reason why sadness can be enjoyed so much is because without sadness and tragedy, a story would be pointless. For an earthly example, The Fault in Our Stars. What if nobody had cancer? What if there was no suffering? There would be no story. Everything would be well and good, and no lesson would be learned. For a godly example, Creation in Itself. What if we didn't fall? What if we were still in the Garden? While that may be the way God originally intended it to be, God's glory would not have shined nearly enough if we didn't first turn away. The best stories always have something tragic.
So, in conclusion, we can say sadness is beautiful. We can say sadness is beautiful because sadness contains truth. We can say it contains truth because it teaches. We can say it teaches because it shows God's glory in the end. We can say it show's God's glory in the end because it is part of His story, which always points back to God. So stay feeling, my friends. And never forget to enjoy the story.