In T.H.White's book, "Once and Future King" there is a moment when the boy who would become King Arthur is talking with his mentor Merlyn. The boy asked what to do with sadness. The reply is one I have carried in my soul and returned to it especially when I am sad. And I am overwhelmingly sad.
“The best thing for being sad,’ replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, ‘is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then – to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags in it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting."
Charlie Brown, the Peanuts character once said, "The more I learn, the more I learn how much there is to learn." That quote sits in my art studio.
Confucius said, "Wise is a man and bound to grow who knows he knows a thing or so but who is not afraid to show the many things he doesn't know." I memorized that poem as a child. I never forgot it.
I have learned that I really don't like being sad. Learning is work. Real work. It requires humility to ask questions, to be curious, to seek truth. Sadness happens when we discover that we don't know it all and it's not good enough to stay that way. My prayer for you today is that you learn something.
It's my prayer for myself today too.