There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year’s course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word “happy” would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. -Carl Jung
One of my oldest and dearest friends in the world was sitting with me on my front porch. I was telling her how horrible I look the morning after a good cry the night before. I told her how, not too long ago, I had to tell my morning yoga students that I was having an allergy attack because my eyes were so puffy and red from the previous night’s cryfest. She was looking at me kind of funny, so I thought she was thinking I must be crazy to cry that hard. This sad look came over her face and she said she hadn’t had a cry like that in a very long time. She thought it was more sad that she hadn’t had a good, hard cry than it was that I had. She suddenly realized that she had not been feeling any strong emotions, one way or the other.
It took me a second…but I got it. I have been feeling so many big emotions lately that all I’ve wished for was a little, calm boredom. But hard times and sadness can also make us feel alive. I’m feeling alive these days, no doubt.
So I started thinking about that quote by Carl Jung. I have such a happy life. I always have. But, strangely, I have had a lot of sadness, too. I can always smile through my tears because I’ve had enough tears to know that I will feel happiness again. Maybe there is even comfort in understanding that life is predictable that way. We know without a doubt that there will be sad times, and we know without a doubt that there will be happy ones, too.
I told a friend the other day how I’m grateful for even the worst of things that have happened in my life. Of course, I never wish anything bad on anyone involved in my sad times, but the times themselves have taught me so much. We both got it. We would have no point of reference of how great this life is if it were always great. And as much as life can hurt, and suck, and wear us down sometimes, it can also feel great, bring us joy and fill us up with love.
I can only hope that for each night there is a day for everyone and for every sad thing that chips a space inside, it opens up a space for more joy to enter.