There are so many things that make us different in life. From the way we look to where we are from, it is so easy to point out how we differ from one another. But, there are things in life that actually bring us together and show us we aren't really that different. Some of these things can be joyous, like the birth of a newborn or the feeling of winning a race. Yet, other things aren't quite as positive. One such thing that we all experience is sorrow. It truly is an equalizer in our lives.
Sorrow Isn't Just for Some
It doesn't really matter who you are or where you are from, sorrow will hit you at some point. It might be from the death of a loved one. Or, perhaps you have experienced a relationship falling apart. Regardless of the circumstances, sorrow will inevitably grab ahold of all of us at one time or another and feel like it will never let go.
The dictionary describes sorrow as “a feeling of deep distress caused by loss, disappointment, or other misfortune suffered by oneself or others.” There are a few key words I'd like to point out in this definition.
First, it says that sorrow is a feeling of “deep distress.” Basically, it's more than just feeling bad for someone or something. Sorrow hits you at a core level. It is that feeling you have in your gut. You know, the one you go to sleep with and the one that is there when you wake up. It's not something you can “have a drink and forget.”
Next, it says sorrow is caused by “loss, disappointment or other misfortune.” I think losing your sight fits right in line with this. Sight loss is, well, loss after all. Also, who isn't disappointed when they find out that their whole life is going to be different. And, while we might not use the word misfortune to describe our situation, would you say it is fortunate? I doubt it…
Finally, it says that this loss and disappointment is “suffered by oneself or others.” We see here first that there is suffering involved when sorrow makes itself known. We don't think of ourselves “suffering” all that much, especially since there is real suffering in the world, such as hunger, poverty, human trafficking and other such horrible things. But, it isn't helpful to put our suffering on a scale compared to others. We need to realize that we “suffer” loss when we lose our vision. And, it is also important to note that it can happen to ourselves or to others. So, that means that the person losing sight is affected as well as the sighted supporters around them. Sorrow doesn't care who you are. It has a wide reach and knows how to use it.
Bringing Us Together
When we begin to think about all the things that make us human, we tend to lean into positive things. But, the experience we share when we face sorrow can be so powerful. It is something that reaches across boundary lines to bring people to a place of unity, even for just a few moments.
Imagine a community of people. They live in a small town with a diverse group of people. There are different races, religions, economic levels and lots of other kinds of things that separate people. This community suffers a great loss in a local leader who has given their life to help make the community better. This person has been killed in a horrific incident that was very unexpected. Each person in the community feels the weight of this sorrow in a very deep way. While every person might express it differently, the reality is it brings them together. For a few brief moments, they forget how different they are and begin to understand that they are all suffering through this. While it is sorrowful, it is very powerful.
While sight loss might not be the same as the death of a local leader, it is no less impactful on the people that it touches. It is usually unexpected which means people are unprepared. People feel the weight of sorrow as they try to cope with all the things they must now do because of sight loss. From learning new skills to adapting to unwanted changes, sorrow looms over them like a dark cloud.
However, the key to remember here is that sorrow has the wonderful benefit of bringing people together. It puts people on equal playing fields. While people might be expressing it differently, everyone is feeling it. Therefore, while sight loss has brought on chaos, confusion and yes, sorrow, it has also presented the chance for renewed unity and togetherness. Families and friends have the chance to sit with one another, weep, laugh, discuss and work together. At this point, we realize sight loss isn't the end, it's just the beginning.
Seperation in Sorrow
Now, don't get me wrong. It doesn't always bring people together. I know that. Sorrow also has the innate power of splitting people apart. Sometimes, the sorrow can be so great that it creates a division that cannot be crossed. My point in writing this isn't to suggest that if you are sad, don't worry because sad people always come together. My point is to simply say that there is an opportunity in the midst of sorrow to find hope, encouragement and unity when you need it the most. But, it isn't just going to happen. You have to take steps towards that. But, it can be so very powerful when you do.
Rainbow in the Cloud
One last thing to remember is that sorrow is painful. I'm not making light of that at all. And, I'm not suggesting that coming together will magically make it all go away. But, much like a rainbow appears in the midst of a storm, so too can hope and courage come in the midst of sorrow. Sight loss may be a storm you didn't see coming, but there is something else waiting for you in the midst of the rain and thunder.
How have you dealt with sorrow? Have you found that it has brought you together? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!
the comments below!