The sadness can't win

On Friday, I was privileged to attend the heartbreaking funeral service of a wonderful teenager, gone far too soon. His family and friends are wholeheartedly devastated. All of them—mum, sister, dad, school friends—got up and shared their memories of the young man they love. The essence of their message was ‘live a big life—no regrets.’

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That same day, many lost their lives in an horrific suicide bombing in Lebanon. A funeral was bombed in Baghdad, killing nineteen. The next day, we woke to news of the terror attacks in Paris.

There are times when the world feels ‘shaky’. When life itself both here, close to home, and far away, seems tenuous.

Life doesn’t always make sense. There are times when it’s so hard we feel like it can’t go on.

But for most of us, most of the time—no matter what happens to us, or what mistakes we make, even when we hit rock bottom—life does go on.

I thought of that when I took this photo of my son with my ex-husband’s daughters, looking up to our two teenage daughters on Saturday. They were in a hotel lobby. News from the unfolding events in Paris was playing on a TV screen beside them. The children didn’t notice the TV. They only had eyes for their big sisters.

Divorce is nothing like the loss of family members in a senseless act of terrorism. Nothing like it.

But it is another time in life when the rug is ripped from under us (even when we’re pulling the rug ourselves). It’s a time when everything falls apart.

Eventually we scramble to our feet. Our lives continue. They continue differently from before, but they do continue.

And they can flourish.

There was a day ten years ago when it felt like sadness had won for us. These three little children prove that in the end it didn’t.

Now, during my friends’ raw grief for their son, it must feel like sadness is winning.

In Paris and Lebanon and Baghdad and in other parts of the world where people are grieving, it must feel like sadness is winning.

Sadness will never win. Love always pushes its way through the charred remains of devastation. Life always flourishes after a fire.

“Live a big life. No regrets.”