Last night our children said goodbye to their grandparents, who had come from out of state for a visit.
One of our little ones told us she was quite sad about their leaving, and she cried a little as she clung to mommy and daddy long after the car disappeared from view. My mommy heart aches for my children, but when I wanted to encourage her, I realized that I couldn’t just tell her to “replace sad thoughts with happy thoughts.”
Why not? Because as humans, we are capable of more than one emotion at a time. Sad and Happy. Fearful and Excited. Angry and Loving. Pretending that sadness is a horrible thing that must be avoided at all costs isn’t right. Jesus showed us that sadness and crying wasn’t sinful; it’s part of being human.
Lee gently told her that sadness is a part of loving sometimes. We asked her if she would hurt and be sad if her grandparents had not come. She recognized that she wouldn’t be sad, had she not spent time with them. Then we asked what she would choose: seeing grandma and grandpa, and hurting; or not seeing grandma and grandpa, and not hurting. She thought a bit, and then agreed seeing grandparents was worth the sadness of saying goodbye. We prayed together, thanking God for the good visit, and asking God to comfort our little ones who were sad. Christ is the great physician for little ones, too. His balm is sweet and gentle.
It’s a sobering lesson. But a good one. When we love as Christ loved, we open ourselves up to sadness. That kind of love is inexplicable, but very worth it.