I’m going through a whole different thing at the moment, and I think it’s related to the hate thing I wrote about the other day, but it’s moved in another direction. It’s actually sadness.
I am feeling sad.
I’m also getting sick with a cold and have been for several days actually which is why I think is one of the reasons I’ve been grumpy and irritable. My body just hasn’t felt good and that can spill over into having a poor outlook or unseasonable general demeanor for me, and I think for many people.
I noticed yesterday though, how I actually am feeling sad. I called my adopted sis Loretta in the morning because I can always depend on her to love me exactly however I am, and she helped to talk me through to the realization of my sadness. In talking with her too, I realized how much I miss singing and how I use singing to move some of these darker emotions through to the surface and out of my system. I’ve had virtually no formal exercise on this trip as well which is another way of moving things through my system
Yesterday, after a 3 ½ hour train ride from Kandy, I was waiting in the station in Colombo for another train and while walking and towing my all-too-large wheeled duffel behind me, I started singing. When I got to areas where I was alone I sang louder. I was singing a song called “Stand” which is a powerful song we used to sing in our gospel choir in San Francisco. The power of singing this in a choir is that we were all actually standing and squaring up our shoulders as we implored ourselves and others to just stand through all the difficulties that life throws at us. I don’t think I’ve ever sung this song without crying, (and often balling like a baby). Somehow it just speaks to me. So there I was walking through the station singing this song, more loudly through the areas where there weren’t so many people, and the sadness in me started to open up. It was a very non-specific sadness too, but it became obvious that sadness is in my system and wanting to be expressed, to move its way through. I say “non-specific” because I can’t exactly tell what is causing it although it certainly involves a sense of tiredness, aloneness, the poverty of the people here especially as seen from the train, some flavor of futility, self-doubt on various levels, and accumulated losses throughout my life, although I’m sure there’s much more to it than just that. So around and around I walked and sang and I noticed something very interesting – the people of this country whom I love for their ability to quickly and genuinely return a smile were now all looking sad. Maybe not fully sad in the moment, but there weren’t any eyes among those of the 100 or so people I looked at with my own sad eyes which were not reflecting their having known a deep sadness of their own, and none of them beamed back the smile to which I had been growing accustomed. What I saw was unmistakeable, very powerful, very affirming actually, and made me feel much more connected here than the more pervasive sense of disconnection I had lately been feeling.
Here’s a great video of the song “Stand” if you are curious:
Once the train arrived I moved on to my hotel just a few steps from the beach, showered, ate a little food I had picked up in the train station, listened to a different version of “Stand,” had a good cry and slept very soundly, thankful that this was moving through. You know, as I think about it, this makes me begin to wonder if hate isn’t just a form of repressed sadness, for hate was clearly up for me the day before. Sadness can be so hard for people to feel, distracting themselves right out of the possibility. Perhaps hate which is outwardly expressed is simply the valve by which our own self-hatred for our own sadness is vented. Or perhaps hate is a good and trusty way to avoid having to feel our sadness. Both possibilities feel kind of true to me.