Rich Meares

        I have a little field I walk through at lunch time-actually the small parking field for White Post Farms, across the street from my office building, that is surrounded by trees and has grass instead of asphalt-and I find myself contemplating all sorts of things during that time. As I took . my walk through this friendly space one day last week, I thought about what I might write about for this month's colwnn. What have I been thinking about a lot during the past year? I hate to say it, but something that kept popping up through my head has been sadness. While I am aware that I have many things to be thankful for, I have found myself wondering what the purpose of sadness is. Recently, I heard about the death of a California firefighter who was killed fighting the Thomas Fire that currently rages around Los Angeles as I write this. He was young, and left behind a pregnant wife and two-year old daughter. I'm not sure why, but I came to tears thinking about their situation this morning on the way to work. It just seemed so intensely sad. What must his widow be going through, facing the rest of her life without the man she thought she would grow old with? When a loved one- parent, spouse, child or someone else incredibly special dies, it leaves behind such a loss that it can often seem unbearable. Why is this necessary, I have found myself wondering? Many people, when faced with the loss of a loved one-especially one who died too young-find themselves angry with God. Why did you take this person from us, Lord, they wonder? They feel abandoned and, sometimes, find themselves turning away from God, as their sense of hollow helplessness threatens to overtake their lives, and horrible sadness fills the void.

        It is one of the things I would like to ask God, myself, if I am ever able to. Why the terrible sadness thing? Why can't we just know what the purpose was of someone being taken from us? Why can't we just know that we will see them again, and have God soothe our emptiness for us, and give us peace? Why must we suffer such intense sadness and sense of loss? As I looked about at the trees and clouds and sky about me, I considered, as I often do, how wonderful God's world is, and how very little we really know about anything, really. I do not know God's plan or reasoning. I only know that he loves us each and every one, far more than we will ever realize. I do not think he allows us to suffer intense sadness for no reason. Why would a father want to see their child tortured by incredible loss and sadness? And yet, we do suffer. So, I am left to conclude that there is some reason for it that I can not understand. This does not help give me comfort about the depth of sadness I have felt when someone close to me has passed, but it does, at least, keep me from getting angry about it. The other thing that has occurred to me, is that, life is short, but our eternal souls will go on forever. While we only know this earthly existence, and it feels like all that there is, in reality, our span of years upon the Earth is but a tiny fraction of the time we will know during our existence. Some day, long after we have passed this realm, we will look back on this tiny moment of life and smile at how we thought we would be separated from our loved ones for such a long time. We will spend time with them whenever we wish then, and our happiness at being reunited will make the sadness from our former lives a feeble memory. We will remember it, but it will no longer hurt us. How could it, when you can "sit" and "chat" beside your loved ones once again, forever more?

        Whatever challenges you face during this new year, take comfort in knowing that God is, indeed, loving and eter- nal, and that he will help you overcome whatever faces you. Do not despair. He loves you. All sadness will pass, eventually, and be replaced withjoy.