Thursday, April 28, 2005

Emotions II

Today at work I was contemplating various things as I carried peoples' groceries out for them, and some more things occurred to me regarding emotions. In specific, regarding Sadness.

Previously, I talked about Anger and Fear, and how they are natural responses to pain. Fear is the instinct to run away from the source of pain, and Anger is the instinct to fight and destroy the source of pain. They're our psyche's immediate response to pain and danger.

Once the source of the pain has been dealt with, however (that is, to use our grizzly bear metaphor, once the bear has either been chased away or eluded somehow), what we're left with is the pain of the wounds we received in the conflict. Perhaps the grizzly bear has left claw-marks on our shoulder, or the schoolyard bully's taunting has left us feeling insecure. Sadness is our response to that pain. It only occurs once the adrenaline of Fear or Anger has subsided, and we're left to deal with the aftermath.

There are two main reactions that I can think of to the emotion of Sadness. The first reaction is to hide; to find a secluded corner somewhere and nurse our wounds, away from people and all possible sources of further pain. This can sometimes result in Depression. The second reaction is to seek help, to go to those we trust for consolation and comfort. Tears and crying are a part of that second reaction, they're our automatic signal system that says "Hey! I'm hurt, I need help!" Both reactions serve a purpose: to help us heal our wounds and ease our pain.

Of course, it's the second reaction that is usually the most helpful. Any time we shed tears over a thing, it's usually a pretty good sign that we should be talking to someone about it. Of course, for us Christians, there is always someone nearby we can turn to in moments of sadness or anguish -- Jesus.

Now, we know that God is all-powerful, so there is nothing in this world or any other that can possibly cause him pain directly. And yet, we read in the Bible that God feels sorrow, sadness, and even anger at times. It seems contradictory, but it's not. If I am standing in front of an angry grizzly bear, confident in my knowledge that I am stronger than the bear and it cannot hurt me, I can still feel fear if I notice that a small child has wandered into the bear's path, and anger if the bear harms him, and sadness if he's hurt. They're sympathetic emotions, felt on behalf of someone you love and care about. In fact, one might say that the definition of love is when you feel emotions on someone else's behalf as strongly as or stronger than you do yourself. This is why God gets angry, or feels sadness; he loves us, and feels for us.

I dunno, it's just something that occurred to me.


SEZ said...

Yes. Yes. That's it!
Thankyou again, Jared.

Becca said...

Really insightful post JZ, I enjoy the fact that you think of such deep and intellectual things during the daily grind at work, that's really awesome!
Keep it up, I like reading what you have to say.

Hez said...

It's really awesome that while your working at a job you don't particularly like, you can contemplate such thoughts. I am quite the opposite and just wish the customers would hurry up and leave and all the more worthwhile things I could be doing. Your attitude inspires me

Ben z. said...

I like reading your blogs. They are cool. They make me think about what they say.

beautifulletdown said...

awesome stuff JZ! thanks for making me think, keep up these awesome blogs. you're such an encouraging wise older brother in Christ.