I once wanted to write a song called “My name is Vickey and I am Sad.” It was only sorta-kinda a joke. I was sad, and I didn’t know exactly how to deal with it, how to get the feelings out of me, and deal with them. I ended up beginning a song called “Am I Greater Than He?” which I had the pleasure of finishing up with Stephen Kapp Perry and Randy Kartchner, two great friends and great talents.
All these years later, I smile thinking of how my great sadness was poured into words that were based upon that scripture in Doctrine and Covenants. At the end of all my scribblings – which, as it turned out, became the basis for quite a few songs – I felt some peace. A bit “filled in” where there had been a hole in my soul. And my feelings shifted from fears to gratitude. Amazing.
How do you fill the holes in your soul? Do you find those holes being dug into your very being because:
- You know you should help out at home more [I’m talking to the kids here, or the spouse] who is stretched to the limit and really cannot fit in another thing, even with the strong desire to do more?
- You have all the stuff lots of people would give an eye tooth to have. But you’re not happy, and you know that ‘stuff’ won’t fix it?
- No matter how much you do, it doesn’t seem enough to satisfy the demands of family, school or work?
- When your family member [or you, yourself] first learned of an illness to be dealt with, you did really well. But now the patience and the hope are wearing thin?
- There is too much going on, and not enough time to deal with it. You need a time out, a quiet place, or a good diversion just so you don’t implode?
- You can’t calm yourself down at times, and you unfortunately explode?
- You need a bit more money, more faith, more friends, more …?
- You need less hassle, less hurt, less pressure or less animosity?
The list can go on and on as far as the horizon, it seems. It may make us sad. And that sadness can begin to carve another tiny hole in our soul.
While I’ve used a lot of words to identify the sadness, I will use only a few that will bring us relief, fill our joy jars, and restore our souls:
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” [John 14:27]
This is the magic bullet, the Today’s Special, the “I can get through this sad time” message. Without fanfare, or long winded explanations, these words grace our lives, strengthen our faith, and fill in the holes in our soul.
When, in the days since penning the beginnings of that song, my heart has hurt or my mind has gone to a place of fear. I have felt that old familiar sadness. Do you know that there have even been a few days over the course of my 25 years of teaching when, standing at a podium to speak, a small part of me has wanted to say, “My name is Vickey, and I am sad.”?
But dignity [or pride] and better choice prevailed. As the hour or so unwrapped itself, the very words of consolation, of laughter, of goodness and hope in Christ that I shared with others brought needed solace and gladness to me.
Who knows our hurts better than the Savior? Who is better qualified to lift us, to tend us, to bless us? The truths of the gospel are bottom-line qualifiers for a more gladsome journey. [I love this word ‘gladsome’ – it makes me smile.]
Even on those days when there is no song in our heart, on our mind, or in our souls, there are words to grant us peace. It comes ‘not as the world’ would give, but it comes in a higher, more quiet and blessed way. The words and the feelings come from Christ who loves us and is always ready to grant us our good and needed desires. As we share the good word [even at those times when we truly don’t feel like it], the Savior is there to lighten the burden and fill in the holes. The sadness seeps out of our pores, it seems, and in its place comes light, some good understanding, & enough peace to take the next step. We are edified. Those around us are, too.
These years, I’ve graduated mostly to ‘hours of sadness’ or ‘moments of feeling sad’. From experience, I see that trusting in Christ’s peace is working!
One of these days I look forward to fully grasping Elder Neal A. Maxwell’s words, “When we reach a point of consecration, our afflictions will be swallowed up in the joy of Christ.” [The Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book, Bookcraft Publishing, 1997, p. 184.]
Not that all the afflictions and sad moments will be gone, but that I will have the disposition to say, “I am Vickey and I am full of joy!” It’s comin’. I’m working on it. I’m excited. Maybe I’ll go pen some lyrics for a joyful song right now……
Vickey has taught Church youth & family programs for 25 years, and has written books, hundreds of columns, & created hundreds of songs all with the intent of growing goodness and pointing people to Christ. Visit her website at www.goodnessmatters.com