An End to Sadness

Lisbeth Essays, Life

American flag on museum wall

For many people in the world, last week was an unusually sad week. 

On top of the usual heart-tugging struggles of life, we had the American election and the aftermath, and now what seems to be an alternating sadness and anger coursing through the veins of America.

It smells like grief or a break-up, like America stopped seeing itself. Maybe it has in several ways. 

And now we move through the day, trying to orient ourselves, searching to understand what happened, wondering how we could have done this differently or that, what would have changed this course of events from ending in this acrimony.

But that’s only helpful to a certain extent.

Ultimately, what happened happened. It’s done, and now we have to move forward in our nation. Jot down the lessons, and learn from this history so we don’t repeat it. At least we hope we don’t repeat it. 

I know moving forward is not easy for everyone. Many people are still grieving, and everyone goes through grief at their own pace, and we must let them do so. Hurrying is not the answer. 

Instead, we must focus on this moment: the good still here, in our hands, in our hearts, in our backyards. I sit right now pecking on my keyboard in the fading sunlight outside a coffee shop in California, and this is what I notice:

  • The day is as beautiful as any other
  • The people are as beautiful as ever
  • This life is as glorious as ever 

We may have dark days ahead of us in America, but we don’t know that for certain yet. We do know the sun will set tonight and darkness will cover our vast land. The night will be cold and bitter and uncomfortable. But there will be stars. There will be fireflies. And people will light furnaces and build fires and we will feel warm for a while, even amidst the cold and dark.

The sun will rise again and bring the light and the warmth like it always does. It’s cliche to say our lives rise and set like the sun, but that’s the thing about cliches—they’re true much of the time. 

But you won’t see the hope if you’re not ready to look for it. So be keen for it. Wipe the tears from your eyes and be keen for any unusual movement. Notice the flickers and the flurries and the sudden beats.

Be ready to welcome hope when you see it. Be ready to welcome love when you catch a glimpse. Be ready to enthusiastically encourage all of it. And be ready to speak up and oppose and fight (if you must) when hatred shows itself and begins to stomp upon the innocent. As much as I wish the world was always sunny, it isn’t. But the night teaches us lessons too, particularly about our own strength to hold on until the light shows itself again.

Long ago, my mother said to me, “It’s a great life if you don’t weaken.” I didn’t always understand what she meant, so I ended up writing about it in one of my books (“Strong Starts in the Mind”). But I get what she meant now. 

Mom was right. And now is not the time to weaken. Pick yourself up. Do what you can where you are. I’ll do the same. We’ll pull back the curtain of sadness and get a peek at the future. If we stick together, we’ll be okay. 


Lisbeth Essays, Life

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