Profound Sadness

I was wasting time a few minutes ago, checking twitter and Facebook and watching Downton Abbey at the same time, when I stumbled upon this video from my Twitter feed.

I’m not a big Louis C.K fan – I actually really don’t like him – but he talks about stuff that’s really interesting. It’s weird because we often see comedians as these people who are just saying random funny things and making us laugh but so many comedians make people laugh because they say true things. They say things that are important, they just present them in such a way that makes us laugh. But usually, when we get past the laughing, we realize how ridiculously true some particular joke is.

Anyway, in this video, Louis C.K. is talking about why he won’t get his daughters cell phones. He talks about how children need to build empathy and cell phones (and probably electronics in general) don’t help do that because they allow us to say or do what we want without dealing with the consequences of our actions. So, in the example he uses, a child can call another child fat and then see that saying those words hurts the other child so the first child responds accordingly. The child learns how to empathize. But with cell phones (and email and Facebook and twitter and the like), a kid can text another kid “you’re fat” (or probably ‘ur fat’) and then never really deal with the consequences of that statement.

I agree so much with that. I am a big believer in having tough conversations in-person rather than over text or some other form of electronic communication unless it’s actually just impossible to have an in-person talk. The reason is that you can send a message to someone and be done with it but the person you send that message to has to now shoulder that burden. Whereas you had time to think about the message (or insult) and then write it out, the other person is just now getting it. On top of that, you never really have to deal with that person’s reaction. While the other person may be hurt or upset or sad upon receiving your message, you never have to know! You can just wash your hands of it. But that doesn’t create good humanness. That creates a world where we don’t really have to be responsible for our actions.

The final thing C.K. talks about, and the title of this post, is the profound sadness we stop ourselves from feeling when we text. This is really sad but I think it’s equally true for so many people, myself included. In those moments when we’re just so sad that we don’t want to do anything or experience these feelings we often look for some type of outlet. Sometimes, it’s texting someone just to have some form of human interaction. Sometimes it’s watching funny videos online. Sometimes it’s writing a blog post. When we feel sad, we don’t want to deal with our sadness, we want to get away from it. But those moments when we confront our sadness, when we just sit by ourselves and cry, those moments are when we feel most alive.

It’s a very interesting, non-Christian response to the problem of humanity. Because how can we really believe that we’re capable of unlocking any type of true happiness on our own when we so easily and so readily would shield ourselves from our faults or woefully lament our imperfections?

C.K. ends by saying that after that period of profound sadness comes extreme happiness. Now this is where I disagree. I think that after that period of sadness your body probably just can’t handle being sad anymore and so it just goes into some euphoric mode. At least for some people. But for other people, for those who have experienced joy, there comes a profound, unfathomably deep sense of joy. Not just happiness, but joy. Because that moment when we grieve – when we weep for ourselves, for our family, for humanity – that’s the moment Jesus knows all about. I think that may be at least part of what Jesus meant when he said “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Here’s why:

Do I think Jesus wept because his friend died? Absolutely. Do I think that’s the only reason Jesus wept? Absolutely not. I think, Jesus may have wept for the same reasons we weep when we experience that profound sadness. It’s because Jesus knew what we all know: this cannot last. This life will end. I think Jesus may have wept because Lazarus had to die. Because all of us have to die. Because humanity is fallen. But the thing that can bring joy is knowing that life comes after death. I think that can wash away any profound sadness we might have otherwise experienced.

***This was a super long post. I don’t know what came over me. I guess that video really got me thinking.

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