“There is only one thing I dread, not to be worthy of my suffering. “ Dostoevski.
Most people who think of a meaningful life may envision a person who has traveled from the pyramids of Egypt to the trails of Machu Picchu, is a positive influence in the lives of those around them, or creates a remarkable invention that improves people’s quality of life. But adventure, amusement, and creativity cannot be the only aspects of life that are meaningful. Truly, if there is any meaning to life at all than there must be meaning in suffering and sadness.
We have all, in some way, experienced some form of sadness in our lives. But just as there is life and death, life cannot be complete without bad experiences with good ones. A life with nothing but good fortune becomes a completely predictable one. What kind of life is that where it is completely predictable? Imagine if everything you ever did always turn out great. You would win the lottery every time you played, made every basketball shot you took, won every race you ran, and would have a full sense of control in every situation.
And that’s not what you want at all because a life in which you have total control is a life where you have no future. You cannot know how it is going to turn out and that is why sadness is necessary. Sadness preserves the most unique thing about our lives…the ability to not know what’s coming, the surprise. And a life without surprise and mystery is one you should never want to live.
Take a moment to look back at all you’ve been through. Look at how far you’ve come and how strong you are to have been through everything you’ve been through. You’ve taken the opportunity in your suffering and sadness to make yourself stronger and wiser. You never gave up and you’ve added a deeper meaning to your life. For your tears from these situations are a witness that you have the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer. And that courage is something no one can ever take away from you.