The Great Sadness

This Spring, I bought this tulip plant at the grocery store. It was one of those type of plants that have a root ball and you are supposed to rip off the cardboard surrounding the root and plant it. The problem was that we hadn’t passed the intermittent frosts, yet, so I was afraid to plant it.

Tulips are my favorite flower and it always bugs me that they have such a short life as a flower! Sure, it’s a bulb so wherever you plant it, you know it continuously comes back every year, but you have to wait a whole year to see it again! Who has that kind of patience?

But when it flowers again the following year, it revives with even more blooms and deeper greener leaves- a better version of itself. So I put it in a crock and some water in the pure sunlight of my kitchen window.

In this fashion, God plants us here on Earth and loves us, talks to us, gives us lots of His light and waits to see what we’ll become. I imagine we are similar to the tulip in that we are one way for a time and then we change our course and turn out to be a bigger better version as the seasons of our lives pass.
I choose to look at my set of circumstances this way. I am going to become a better person now, than I was last season.

Jesus responded, “Beloved daughter, your faith in me has released your healing.
You may go with my peace.” –Luke 8:48


To me, becoming a better person means coming out of my “Me! Me! Me!” state and helping others. It means living each day excited to see what God has in store for me and making the most of it. It also means taking some old clinging feelings and digging into them, so they can leave me. I can say with assurance that Grief is one of those feelings, but the worst one, which in my case is always paired with the grief is Regret.

In the book “The Shack, by Wm. Paul Young, Mack is struggling with the loss of his daughter and he is filled with regret for not being there to save her from her horrendous suffering then death. Mack calls his emotion “The Great Sadness.” I can relate to this. Although the circumstances of Tyler’s death are very different from Mack’s Missy, I have “The Great Sadness” just as well.

Although I worked a lot, I took time to meet with Tyler’s teachers frequently, sometimes once a week to see what I could do to help him succeed. And I prayed. I prayed and prayed for him. I wanted to get out of the marriage, but I didn’t know how, and I thought I should be yoked for life. I remember reading about being un-equally yoked which I understood to be a Christian woman married to an Agnostic man. So, I prayed for my husband to find God, to come with us to church as Tyler and I went every week. But that didn’t happen, and instead of finding my way out of the marriage, God blessed me with two more children, Hillary and Kendall. With the girls around things changed a little bit and my husband was less antagonistic.

Finally, when Kendall was four, Hillary six and Tyler fifteen, I asked my husband to leave, and he did. I didn’t realize that fifteen was a horrible age to have such a life changing event in a young man’s life! So, you can see my regrets popping up in this story: Regrets for not leaving my marriage sooner, my regret for not standing up for myself and Tyler at home, and even though I don’t regret sending my husband packing, I regret the timing. Timing is everything.

Regret is a “Guilt” word. It’s being reminded of something wrong you did in the past, and I can’t help thinking “if only.” Oh, I had always made resolutions to change during my marriage, to be more forceful and insert my own parenting skills into the equation, and once I was on my own with the kids I did that. I can’t help thinking that in Tyler’s case it was too late.

When Tyler died, I was understandably inconsolable I can pray for release of my suffering, I can continue my therapy and find the DBT (Dialectic Behavior Therapy) skills that work.
Now, I like to think that Jesus has bestowed upon my son a clear picture of my love for him. And He has bestowed upon me that we are always right where we need to be. I know this, but this is my burden, “The Great Sadness” in my life and I am working everyday to relieve the suffering. But I am planted, not buried, and God is opening me up like a flower to show me the good times like sunshine on my little tulip face.

In one of my favorite passages from The Shack, Jesus is lying next to Mack and they are looking up into the deep night sky. Mack is happy and he is laughing with Jesus:

“Mack lay there realizing that he was now feeling guilty about enjoying himself, about laughing, and even in the darkness he could feel The Great Sadness roll in and over him.
     ‘Jesus?’ he whispered as his voice choked. ‘I feel so lost.’
A hand reached out and squeezed his and didn’t let go. ‘I know, Mack. But it’s not true. I am with you and I am not lost. I’m sorry it feels that way, but hear me clearly, you are not lost.

3 thoughts on “The Great Sadness

  1. Amen, love this, especially becoming a better version of yourself. It’s hard to imagine that is possibly through tragedy.
    God has done this with me, when I was sick and lost my higher brain function and could no longer so my intellectual creative course design. It was hard losing that part of identity but I do see God continually improving me and changing me, even without that intelligence I thought defined me.
    We have to let God define us; He is the one who showed we are worth EVERYTHING.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Stacy! You are right! God opens up news paths and courses to use our talents. What we thought were our strengths, God shows us new strengths that we sometimes didn’t even know we had! Love you!


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