There are some days that sadness creeps in, no matter how diligent I am to stuff the cracks and close the doors and shutter the windows. The sadness I feel right now, however, is not mine. It is Uma's, who lost her father this week. It is Debbie's, who must put back on the armor. It is a sadness born of the helplessness I feel when people close to me hurt and there is nothing I can do but say, 'I'm here.'
Sadness is such an odd emotion. I tell my students the word is too ambiguous, too overused. It can mean anything from a general discomfort to a deep grief that threatens to swallow one whole. Pick a word that really means what you feel, I tell them. Yet I cannot find that word. I am troubled. Distressed. Sorrowful.
But not pitying. To feel pity would be to dismiss the incredible strength of these two women. My sorrow is tempered by awe, certainly; respect, always. And thankfulness. Because I have the privilege to be acquainted with them and to witness their incredible grace in the face of their pain, my love of the human spirit we posses is reaffirmed.