Your Saddest Thoughts are Not a Complete Story

There is always more to the story. The saddest story is not the final story. If you have questions, there must mean there is more to the story you simply do not understand.

When we see the leaves fall in the autumn, we know winter is coming. Everything will die.

But we know, there is more to the story.

The Season of Winter is not the end of the story. It is a part of the story. But not the end.

The saddest part of the story, is not the end of the story.

When we or those we know go through difficult times, there is often a story of healing later.

This surely does not mean the hard times are not difficult, it just means we are in the middle of a story, rather than the end.

And when the worst happens. When someone passes from our life. Maybe we can invite the idea that this may not be the end of the story either. That their story carries on – in ways we can see in how their life continues to affect ours and others – and also in ways we cannot yet see. Although the Winter is all we can see for them right now, maybe we can trust there is a Spring we cannot see.

Life is complex. Most things are not black and white. In my career I work with youth from at risk backgrounds. I have had many clients who have committed crimes that, well, seem pretty bad when you look at them on paper. You might come to a negative belief about this person or or be tempted to write them off completely.

But if you talk with them. If you get to know them.

There’s always more to the story.

The more of the story that you learn and understand – the more the behaviors and actions taken make a bit more sense.

Just the same, when we find our minds in negative thought loops about the world or life itself – we can remind ourselves there is likely more to the story than what our black and white thoughts are feeding us.

And if we have questions, if things are not making sense – it simply means that there are answers we don’t yet understand. Life is confusing, because we do not fully understand it. It doesn’t mean there are no answers, it just means there is understanding we do not have yet. We should keep striving for knowledge and understanding, but also humble ourselves in recognizing how limited our understanding actually is.

I do not say any of this to say that there is no space for pain, sadness, and grief. There is. But among these feelings I hope that you might find a reason to trust that maybe, just maybe, there is more to the story. One day we might all see Spring.


Why Hoping in the Unseen Makes the Most Sense of All


Imagine you (somehow!) were an adult that had just arrived on this earth for the very first time. You look around – you see tall trees with bushy green tops, intricate leaves that that blow so peacefully and meditatively in the wind. You take a walk in the first neighborhood you arrive in – lush green grass covers every lawn. In front of each house are pops of the most beautiful (what you learn are called) flowers. Daffodils, Peonies, Roses, Lillies…the list goes on. So many different colors, so many different designs. What is this place? It’s beautiful!

This place seems like some kind of heaven. You decide you want to join into this beautiful world. You find yourself a little cottage and make it home. Outside you plant the spectrum of the rainbow of colors. Pinks, blues, oranges, yellows  – how is there a flower in every color? Your cottage is surrounded by the lush beautiful trees, just like the ones you saw the first day you arrived.

You sit back, you look around, and you think – Wow, this is perfect.

You are ready for many months and years to come to enjoy your new lush colorful world.


And Then It’s Gone

And then one day, you wake up, and something seems different. Something seems off. Does the air feel colder? Are your beautiful plants turning a slight brown at the edges? What’s going on? Maybe you’re just imagining it. Your beautiful garden could never be taken from you, could it?

And as the days and weeks pass, slowly you see each and every beautiful plant you planted shrivel up and die. You look up to the sky to your beloved trees – surely they are still a source of comfort. Only days ago they were golden orange – but no, the leaves have fallen – there is nothing left but bare branches. Your garden – is gone. Your trees – are gone. And along with it, so is your spirit.


But We Know the Truth about Fall

Imagine being this new person on earth. How devastating! They found this new and beautiful world – and saw it disappear right in front of their eyes.

We feel the pain of this person. Well, except one detail they do not know. We know the truth about fall. We know it will be back. Yes, we must endure the cold and bareness for a time. But it will be back. We have the knowledge that Spring will spring forth as beautiful as ever. We just must give it time.

But what if we didn’t have this knowledge? What if we experienced fall and winter for the first time and only could see our whole beautiful world falling apart? I don’t think we would even think to believe that it would come back. That probably wouldn’t even occur to us. Death is death. Isn’t it?


The Pattern of Death and Resurrection

Author and priest Richard Rohr shares in his book Falling Upward that death and resurrection are simply a pattern of reality.

Although he is coming from a religious perspective, he argues that this is clearly seen in many elements in life – maybe the most evident being nature. But that death is never the final word. It is a word. It’s there. But it’s not the final word. Resurrection always follows.

I come from a religious context, so death and resurrection are not at all new ideas for me. However, I do find comfort that this pattern is found in nature. Here on the tangible earth that I can see and observe. It helps me believe that it might happen where I cannot see as well.

We know the truth about fall because we have seen it time and time again. We have observed it. We have studied it. It is scientifically proven.

But what if we were that person new to earth? Wouldn’t the most intelligent belief be to believe it’s never coming back? Wouldn’t anything else be wishful thinking?

Just because something is not provable, doesn’t mean it’s not true.


There is Reason to Hope

I do not say this from a perspective in which I am trying to convince anyone to believe anything they don’t. I am speaking from a perspective of things I have personally struggled with.

Feeling a desire to hope, feeling and inclination to hope. Feeling a desire to believe, feeling and inclination to believe. But being told I cannot believe and hope in things that are not provable.

Death and resurrection are the pattern of reality. At least for what we can see here. There is a reason to have hope. There is a reason to believe. Even in the unseen. Even in the unprovable.

It is not silly to trust in the unseen. In an intuition that something more is going on here. I look around and I see fall, but I somehow know that Spring will be back.


Wishing you faith and hope for the Spring that is to come.