Not many mornings ago I found myself in that wet-concrete of being trapped between sleep and awake, with the accompanying confusion between misty reality and all-too-real dreams.
It had been kind of a rough night and rather than waking refreshed, I was more tired than when I had gone to bed the night before.
As I turned my head to face the window and the light coming through, a tear slowly fell down past my ear onto the pummeled and flattened pillow.
It was going to be another long reach down inside to find the ability to raise my head, slide my feet off the edge of the bed to the floor, and stand.
While grasping for something deep down, anything really, I heard Ann and Nick talking in the kitchen. As Ann laughed readily, fully, and completely free of pain or sorrow at something ridiculous Nick must have said, my spirit immediately smiled.
Reflexively an unspoken prayer of gratitude floated through my mind and out the window, into the brightening day.
Closing my eyes again, and feeling the remaining tear squeeze past the damp lashes, I realized that the same tears on my pillow that moments before had been shed in exhaustive sadness, had made room for the quiet happiness.
The same tear, the same moment, the same body.
But I solidly understood that I could cry tears of hurt and of gratitude at the same time.
For so long I have been unsuccessful in my attempted placement of the two emotions as opponents on a battlefield, always facing each other, feeling that one must be stronger in order to vanquish the other.
But Happy and Sad don’t have to cancel each other out; they can actually exist in harmony – one helping to make a little more sense of the other.
Happiness gently reminds sadness that there is indeed so much good interspersed between the difficult.
Sadness can help keep our perspective grounded a bit as we take time to alleviate another’s suffering.
If we balance it just right, each day has the potential to become a great explosion of beauty and pain and joy and frustration.
When we allow Happy and Sad to make room for each other.