Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sadness is Unavoidable

There is a museum dedicated to the life and work of the Catholic Japanese novelist Syusaku Endo in the Sotome district of Nagasaki overlooking the ocean. On the monument to 'Silence', there are inscribed the words: "Humanity is so sad, Lord, and the ocean so blue."

A priest writing for a pastoral bulletin introduces us to his thoughts on the Japanese novelist. The novelist asked for two books to be buried with him when he died. The books, Silence and Deep River were two of his favorites and dealt with  the theme of sadness. This sadness is  not the kind that you cry and with the catharsis,regain your composure and are refreshed. He is not talking about  the emotions. He is talking about the existential sadness that faces all of us in life with the accompanying agony through which we go in search of salvation, a pilgrimage of inquiry.

Humanity in seeing the difficulties of life that await, and the weakening of our human response, we face the  limitations imposed upon us by the present reality. Since we  cannot fight against the future, our weaknesses bring  sadness. However, when we don't deny the sadness and accept it, we are able to deal with ourselves as we are. Syusaku says when we work to purify and heal the sadness that is in us, and accept it then we will meet the person we were meant to be and happiness. 

Persons who do not feel sadness are not healthy. The article goes into detail on the issue. You have those who have no conscience and no feeling or remorse in hurting another. You also have another type who is charming and uses another for their own ends. This person also says the writer, has as no feelings for another's sorrow. He distinguishes between the Psychopath and the Sociopath.

The article concludes with the response seen in the mass media on the death of so many children in the Sewol  tragedy. While most of the citizens were in deep sadness in seeing the drowning of so many children and feeling with the families, you did hear some strange responses to the tragedy: feelings expressed  were improper; we must look at the accident. We have to get rid of the primitive feelings of sorrow. Why did the children of the poor  go on such a luxurious trip to Jejudo by boat when they had many places to go on land? 

If in  deep sorrow we are not able to meet the persons we are and discover our nobility we will not recover the persons we are meant to be. When we are not able to feel sorrow we are like a dog who eats the food given and in loyalty wags its tail.

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