Happiness and Healthiness

By: Aurora Castiglia
Sunday, April 29, 2018

My father, Charles A. Castiglia, has a favorite verse, John 11:35. It is the shortest in the Bible, with only two words. “Jesus wept”. Jesus, who was spreading the word of eternal life in heaven, wept for the death of His friend, Lazarus. He wept, and He felt the incredibly human sensation of true sorrow.

That’s a ridiculous thought to try and wrap you head around, that someone who is without sin could feel such horrible sadness. In my own experience, and that of many people I’ve worked with, sadness isn’t a particularly comfortable emotion. It feels, at times, like it’s something I should be ashamed of, like I need to just be strong. But how can grief be weak if Jesus was overcome with it?

We are told too often that our goal is to be happy, and that you can not rest until you find it. But I don’t believe that happy is a destination. I don’t believe that it is a mountaintop to conquer. I believe that it is a bit more like weather. It’s an emotion, it’s sunshine and blue skies, just like grief that feels so much like a thunderstorm. Yes, we love the sun, and we dream of eternal warm weather, especially here in Buffalo. If you go too long with sunshine, however, things will get dry, the ground will crack, and things will struggle to grow. It’s only with sadness that rain can water the world and give everything what it needs to thrive.

The destination, in my whole-hearted belief, is healthiness. You want to root yourself in health, in good habits for your mind and soul. That grief may not go away right off the bat. It might even come back, as terrifying as that sounds. However, when we end our story at Happy, we can’t grow any more. We can’t become kinder, or more empathetic, or more passionate about the world, if all we are is Happy. We would become stagnant.

For any Star Wars fans out there, think of it as the light and dark sides of the force. When the dark side is wholly in power, there is chaos and destruction and pain. When the light side is wholly in power, you get the prequels! If you haven’t seen the prequels of Star Wars, or if you perhaps even liked them, let me explain why that’s a bad thing. When the light side of the force was in power, the world stopped progressing. Nothing got done, power was hoarded, and the world stood aside when the pain took over again.

That not to say that we should stay in our grief forever, or that we should become bitter with the world. When that sadness comes to us, I believe that it’s good and normal to seek shelter to hide you from the pain. The important part is to remember to come out of that hidden place, so that you are able to see when the sun starts to shine again. We need the good and the bad, the sun and the rain, the light and the dark, to be who we are. Because the world isn’t about having eternal happiness, it’s about finding home.

Leave a comment
Name*:
Email:
Comment*:
Please enter the numbers and letters you see in the image. Note that the case of the letters entered matters.

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

New Year, New Outlook

The following is an article I submitted to Hard Tales magazine in November 2020. I intended to post it here around the new year, but in all honestly, I forgot until I came across it again today. Ca...

Music, Movies, and Books: Offering a Comfort When Nothing Else Can

The year was 2012. I was 15 years old. My brother and sister were in the midst of their college years, my parents were hard at work, and it was also the year my grandfather was diagnosed with termi...

Love Languages and How We Grieve

I have a theory about interaction. I believe that almost everything we do in this world is a translation. You may have heard of Love Languages, the ways that we express and seek affection from the ...

Good Grief!

I think I should start off this blog by introducing myself. My name is Emily and I am an office support staff member and assistant to the funeral directors here at Lakeside Memorial Funeral Ho...

The Loss of a Pet

I started this entry a couple times, and kept finding myself taking diverging trains of thought into the pandemic, and grief in general, and all the ways 2020 has thrown us curve ball after curve b...

Grieving during a pandemic

Grief is complicated.  This is true under any circumstances, but especially right now. There's a million things to read out there about grief and loss, and maybe I'll create another post soon...

2020

Well, folks, first let me say I'm sorry it's been so long! Between the chaos that has been 2020 so far and some changes in the staffing of the Lakeside family before that, we have let our blog...

Therapy Dogs

My Great Pyrenees, Willow, got certified as a therapy dog in May of 2018. He surprises people sometimes if they’re not expecting him – he’s a 100-pound mass of white fur, but with the cutest teddy ...

I've Got Nerd In My Genes

Here’s a holiday that I’m sure you weren’t planning on celebrating this year: Embrace Your Geekness Day! This day was created by Wellcat Holidays, a source for fun holidays that has been used in Ch...

Who Tells Your Story

My father, Charles Castiglia, is an incredible story teller. He attracts attention easily, and commands it gently, like he’s inviting you to sit in front of a fire with him. Growing up, he was...