How sad are you?
That’s today’s question from the little “Q and A” book I keep on my desk. It’s a rather depressing question, and fortunately I can say…not very. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d probably rate my “sadness level” at 1 or 2.
At least, a few moments ago that’s where I would have ranked it. Now, after giving it a little thought, I might have to move it a bit higher.
Not that anything in my life has suddenly changed. I’m still sitting in the exact same place I was moments ago. I haven’t moved. No one has disturbed me — no phone calls, no instant messages, no texts.
So why the change?
As I contemplated sadness and its meaning, I realized that there are many people in the world who face misfortune every day. There are hungry children, battered women, abused animals. There are families struggling to make ends meet, young men and women desperately looking for work, and people who are dealing with serious health issues — their own or that of a loved one.
It’s too easy to look the other way, to think only of our own happiness and forget the sorrow and sadness that others must bear. We need to acknowledge pain and suffering and consider ways in which we can provide comfort. Maybe we’re helpless to make changes, but there are still many things we can do to ease another’s sadness.
Albert Schweitzer wrote:
The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.
I wish all disease could be eradicated, that poverty would cease to exist, and that nations could be forever at peace.
I wish people treated one another with more respect and courtesy. I wish everyone could find joy and happiness.
Of course, that’s not going to happen. It’s part of the balance of life that everything has its opposite.
Maybe we need a little sadness in our lives to keep us mindful of others, to remind us of the many ways we can be of service, and to make us aware that we can be part of making a better world.