When my husband and I lived in Florida I was sad. Not just kind of sad, but very, very sad. A kind woman in our ward described me as, “Sister Ostler? Oh yes, she’s that lovely, sad girl who always sits in the back of the room.”
I laughed when I heard her description. I suppose I wasn’t very good at hiding my sadness. Most meetings I sat in the back of the room fighting the uncontrollable sobs that were constantly threatening to expose me—my sadness.
The truth is, even when I’m happy, I’m still quite sad. It seems we live in a culture that perceives a person’s happiness is the ultimate achievement or measuring standard: “Are you happy?”, “Does he make you happy?”, “Are you happy at church?”, “Does your work make you happy?”, “Aren’t you happy being a mother?” and so on.
No, my husband doesn’t always make me happy, but I find our relationship quite meaningful. No, the constant demands of my children usually don’t produce happiness, but I find motherhood quite meaningful. No, advocating on behalf of the oppressed and abused is not something that makes me happy, but I find my work quite meaningful. No, my church doesn’t make me happy all the time, but I find communal worship quite meaningful. And no, my life isn’t always happy, but I find my life quite meaningful.
The truth is, even when I’m sad, I’m still quite happy. While sadness may seem undesirable it is the product of my love. I love quite deeply, and equal to the depth of my love is my sadness. I find the symbiotic relationship of love and sadness quite beautiful, because it is meaningful. So I’m perfectly happy being sad.