Sunrise

Last night I read a book called Melrose and Croc Find a Smile to Annalyn before bed. It starts like this:

It was a lovely sunny day,
but something was wrong.
“What’s happened?”
asked Little Green Croc.

“I’ve lost my smile,” said Melrose.

“Well, let’s go and find it then!” said Little Green Croc.

The two animals (Melrose is a dog of the weiner variety, Croc is unsurprisingly a crocodile, and I believe they are both quite British) then spend the day following a set of steps prescribed by Croc: chasing squirrels, smelling flowers, saying hello to all the cows and walking up a hill backwards. Eventually, of course, Melrose finds his smile and the animals are happy again.

It’s a simple book with a sweet message and, at the end of a stressful day that included my car breaking down, blessedly short. And it made me think of two friends of mine who have lost their smiles.

One friend is grieving the unexpected and tragic death of a family member. The other has just slipped into a dark place and can’t quite figure out why. My heart has been broken for both of them this week.

I know well how it feels to wake up and feel the darkness
, wondering how you got there and when you’ll find your way out. Whether a period of sadness is triggered by an event in your life or hormones or some unseen anxiety you can’t quite put your finger on, the fact is that sometimes sadness happens.

Finding yourself in a dark place can be scary. And frustrating. Even embarrassing. Especially if you are a naturally positive, upbeat, lemons-into-lemonade person (which both of the friends I mentioned happen to be). You might feel all those things, even as you battle the clouds and storms rolling around in your heart. I know I have.

I’ve felt all those things. Frustration that I’m letting “it” get to me, whatever “it” may be. Embarrassment that I’m so needy, so Debbie Downer, so depressing and depressed. Fear that I won’t escape, that the morning will never come, that this is who I’ve become.

But here’s what I know. It’s okay to not be okay. If you are sad, if you are hurting, if you are in a place so dark you can’t see your hand in front of your face – it’s okay. Feeling this way, fighting this battle – it doesn’t mean that you’re weak. It doesn’t mean that you’re a Negative Nelly or that you will never. feel. better. again.

You won’t feel like this forever.
You are not weak.
You are not miserable.
You are not boring or no-fun.
You aren’t a burden.
You will be okay.
This won’t last forever.
The morning will come.

Sometimes the sadness comes. Sometimes it has a good reason; other times it doesn’t. Sometimes there’s an easily identified pattern; other times it’s a mystery that all the TV detectives in the world couldn’t solve. Sometimes it lasts for a brief time; other times it lingers for-freaking-ever. But all the time, you are not alone.

You are not alone.
You are loved.
You are worth it.
You are strong enough.
You matter.
You will be okay.
This won’t last forever.
The morning will come.

To my friends who I know are struggling in the dark place this week: I love you.
To everyone struggling in the dark place this week: You are loved, too.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
~ Lamentations 3:22-23

What do you say to a friend who has lost her smile? [You can comment here!]

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