Monday, May 3, 2010
Sadder But Wiser
One of the most well-known, and probably the most re-produced musical of all time is The Music Man. I love The Music Man. Like most of you, I, too was in a production of The Music Man in high school. Good times. Happy memories. I especially love all the sing-a-long songs, and know them all by heart.
There is one song by Harold Hill and his buddy Marcellus that always seemed a little pessimistic to me, compared to the other songs; it is Sadder But Wiser Girl. Harold sings of his preference for the woman who has been around the block a time or two, has learned that life isn't always as one imagines, and has had to become a little hardened by life's lessons.
I have come to believe that one can't go through life without becoming a little sadder, but hopefully a little wiser too. We are always learning. We are always having new experiences that affect us for good or for ill. Each day yields new lessons. I find it so interesting to go back through old journals to see how far I have progressed; to see how naivete' has been replaced with insight, increased understanding, and sometimes even disappointment. We may have had our eyes opened to the starkness of reality, but with that knowledge of good and evil, hopefully we are also gaining wisdom.
We may learn who our friends really are. We may learn on whom we can rely. We may learn what our thresholds are, for pain, for endurance, for criticism. We may learn where we can turn for unconditional love. We may learn of strengths we never knew we had. We may learn of untapped resevoirs of courage, of stamina, of patience.
In our learning, hopefully we are also expanding our capacity to be sympathetic to others who are also learning life's often painful lessons. Hopefully we are more quick to lend a hand to someone struggling, and that we can empathize with those who are sadder but wiser for any number of reasons.
When the Savior Jesus Christ came to this earth, one of the main purposes was to learn firsthand how difficult mortal life really is, so that He would then understand "how to succor his people according to their infirmities." (Alma 7:12) And as we read in John 11:35, the Savior was also not above sadness and on occasion was known to weep.
Sometimes in life, we are all a little sadder because of lessons learned, but this needn't mean that we have taken a step away from God. The prophet Alma "began to be very sorrowful; nevertheless the Spirit of the Lord did not fail him."(Alma 4:15) I am thankful for the comfort promised by the Savior in Matthew 11:28,29; "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."
What a tremendous promise.