This post is part of a 31-day series.
"It is better to go to a house of mourning
Than to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every man,
And the living takes it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
For when a face is sad a heart may be happy.
The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning,
While the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure.
It is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man
Than for one to listen to the song of fools.
For as the crackling of thorn bushes under a pot,
So is the laughter of the fool;
And this too is futility."
Sorrow isn't very popular. It won't get you invited to many dinner parties.
In fact, the world chases pleasure in every form, and uses it to squelch any impulse to contemplate our inevitable end.
To the world, then, the soberly morose is a pariah. Mourning the world's--or one's own--brokenness is a jarring interruption of foolishly merry feasting. It is "the rebuke of a wise man."
Now I'm not suggesting you wear a long face and a doomsday placard to your niece's princess birthday party. There is a season, after all, for laughter and dancing.
But there is an equally legitimate season for weeping and mourning.
"A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance."
May it not be that some people are called to carry more of the world's sorrow, while others are more gifted at seasonally appropriate dancing? We must be reminded of joy, and we must be reminded of sobriety. We ought to thank God for each other's proclivities, while helping balance each other in wisdom.
God Himself welcomes the communication of all our emotions.
"Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises."
Are you uninterested in listening to a song?
Do you lack enjoyment in a "house of feasting"?
Do you lack energy even for laughter?
Would you rather hide than visit in a pleasant house?
The Bible does not condemn you. In fact, you may exemplify what the Bible calls "better wisdom."
Jesus invites you to retreat to a metaphorical or literal prayer closet, with your appropriate or disproportionate sorrow, the weight of sadness on your chest, your tension headache, the painful knot in your stomach, your dizzying anxiety, your snappish temper--and rest in Him.
Sadness isn't a sin. Unbelief is a sin.
To that end, don't let your natural depression convince you that laughing feasters are always wrong. Withdraw to your prayer closet, but don't neglect to come out again and maintain connection with the saints--fasters and feasters alike.