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When It’s Okay to Be Sad

Bearing a burden with grace and love.

A mother bears sadness as she cares for her daughter.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

I was on the subway this morning when a wave of sadness hit me. My cousin invited my family to visit her on her farm in Vermont, but we can’t go. My recovering anorexic daughter can’t eat elsewhere yet, can’t bear the uncertainty of unknown ingredients or unmeasured serving sizes. She has made great progress, but we won’t be going on vacation this year. 

I felt the weight and shape and size of the sadness in my heart, and made no effort to chase it away. It’s okay to be sad, especially about sad things. There’s a name for a burden ones bears for the good of others: a cross.

I thought about Jesus and “take up your cross and follow me.” There’s a difference between taking up a cross begrudgingly and accepting it as a heavy gift for someone else. Jesus wasn’t happy about His situation–He pleaded three times to have that cup taken from Him–and yet He didn’t resent having to die for the sake of the world. He was sad, but did what He had to. There’s a lot to learn from that. I hope I can imitate Him.

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