Joy, despair and gloom

It’s Christmas carol time and I went along to Church yesterday to support a friend who was part of the carol service. In between the carols, the Rev spoke. Something he said stayed with me, something along the lines of – God wants us to be joyful and not full of despair and gloom.

Maybe it’s because of my strong Hindu / buddhist leaning but I don’t agree with the statement. Firstly, I don’t think God wants us to be anything. I think if God wanted us to be happy and joyful 100% of the time, there would be no sickness, no death, no break-ups, etc. We would be handed a guidebook to how to live life, what job to choose, which relationships to enter, etc. Basically, completely opposite to the VERY human lives we lead now.

Secondly, to lead a human life is to be faced with setbacks, illness, grief as well as joy, laughter and happiness. It’s the full spectrum. To be human and not experience despair or gloom would be inauthentic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of joy and happiness and I don’t want to romanticise the other side of the coin because it is painful but when I look back, it’s my times of despair, sadness and anger that have made me dig deeper into myself, taught me more about life and myself and more importantly, gave me the willpower I needed to make a change my life. And without despair, pain and self-doubt, I think poetry, novels and music would be just that less richer and moving 🙂

I shall always remember when I was going through my break-up and I was sobbing to my friend on Skype and I told her, “I can’t bear the pain. I don’t think I’m going to make it this time” and she said something completely unexpected, she said “don’t lose this time.”

And it made me think of things from a whole new perspective. Pain wasn’t a state to be avoided. It wasn’t an absolute waste of my life. It was okay, I was still learning during this period, experiencing life but in a different way, in a way no less valuable.

Actually, I’m wrong. I said God doesn’t want us to be anything at the start of my article. Actually, I think God wants us to be compassionate. In moments of joy, happiness and sadness, I think we need to be compassionate – to the people around us and more importantly … to our own selves.


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