Am i There Yet – Sadness

Posted: August 8, 2011 in Am i There Yet?

i think that many times in my life i resolve myself to being “a little sad at times.” Much of the time i give thanks and am grateful, my life seems okay and i have nothing to complain about… as i said, much of the time. Then as i lay awake at night and stare at the ceiling a sadness creeps in and my satisfaction turns to dissatisfaction. One of the motivations for me to find spirituality is the felt need to find something or someone who can do more than numb the sadness. i just want it gone! i have come a long way in my quest but these moments seem to show up unannounced and grip me as though i have no way out. They are not present near as often but the intensity when they do come is way more, so it seems. my belief is that this is a spiritual issue and requires a spiritual response.

A man named Dick Peters was a leader in his community and in his words “lived a charmed life.” He had achieved more in his career than he had every dreamed possible. While he knew there were more goals that he could accomplish, none of them looked as interesting. Dick loved his wife and adored his two teenage sons. While Dick was describing how wonderful his life was to his pastor he finally said, I’m terrified that i might do something stupid real soon.” He explained that he was not interested in being another pathetic victim of a midlife crisis, but he felt like he was being pulled toward something desperate that would cause him to self-destruct.

At this point the pastor would usually recommend one of the church’s counselors, but Dick was already seeing an excellent therapist. The therapist began to tell Dick that his crisis was spiritual in origin and the pastor agreed. Dick did not suffer from clinical depression, but a despair that would leave him distressingly sad. The place where Dick was at, i am familiar with. i have reached a place in my life where i can not out run the sadness. i can no longer out work the sadness. i can no longer out give the sadness. i can no longer out teach or out study the sadness. This sadness is a hopelessness that comes about when i become convinced that there is no mystery left to my life. i have found that arriving at this place leaves me with two choices. i can resign myself to the despair which i know will ultimately self destruct my life, or i can see this sadness as a yearning for God who is not yet done creating my life. i have been made to crave and if i am not honestly craving God then i am craving something or someone to take away the sadness. “How’s that working for me?” Not so well as it’s not anyone else’s job to take away my sadness and i have done so many things in my life that if things could take it away it would be far gone.

i find that i am cynical about politics as it’s the “in” thing to be cynical. i also expect little from the economy which seems to offer me nothing like it did for generations before. we have a house that is worth far less than what we paid and thus retirement has disappeared. i expect very little from religion and church, which seems to be occupied with itself and cares nothing for me and my sadness. And relationships… well who isn’t in the same boat or worse and who’s willing to invest the time?

For over 30 years i went to church along with seventy-five million other people and but for maybe seven of those years i never had an interaction with God during the service. Recently i was watching one of the television ministries and my heart began to beat faster as i engaged in the worship from my hotel room. Perhaps the answer to my sadness is to find a place where i can experience the presence of God with like-minded people, like in the old days. Oh wait a minute… i spend everyday at a Prayer Center with people who are seaching for God.

Perhaps my prayer life has dried up, or in spite of my best efforts i am not making much of a difference in anyone’s life, maybe i have lost my joy, or all the passion, in my life. i have a head full of knowledge about God, and my life is filled in part with effort to experience God in everyday life, but it is not enough. i want to experience sacred moments, and it’s those moments that i believe will calm the sadness that dwells deep within.

i must remember that i am not struggling with a prayer center. i am not struggling with my family. i am not struggling with the economy or my finances. The stakes are much higher. It is my parched soul that i am struggling with. i know that i was created for a much deeper spiritual walk than i am living. New relationships, more experiences, accomplishing more, giving more, to more people, a different weight loss program, will not satisfy this thirst. i am not comparing myself to anyone else as they are not me. i am not trying to be exceptionally hard on myself either, but i know there is more and i know that i do not have to settle for these times of sadness that bring me to a screeching halt.

i’ll close on this thought… asking right questions and/or finding right answers is not enough.


  1. brooke says:

    Keep pushing the button. Eventually, you won’t have to push it anymore, but if you do, you’ve had great practice.

  2. Elizabeth Holmes says:

    I know this place all to well.

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