Feeling all the Feelings

by Carolyn Roncolato

This week I started a new job after being the primary care giver for our son for the past year. This was also Ben’s first week of daycare. Day one he seemed to feel ok. Day two, not so much. I returned to a poor sweet worn out baby, sitting in a tiny chair, weeping into his spaghetti. Needless to say, it was a bit traumatic for all of us. In the midst of agonizing over how to help him adjust to daycare I was struck by Wisdom- I remembered that I want to teach Ben that it is really ok to not be ok, that sad and scared feelings are important, that new people and places can be hard. A wise friend sent me a comforting email the next morning with the following lyrics from the song “Its alright to Cry” from the Free to Be You and Me Album [Free to be You and Me]- “It’s alright to feel things, though the feelings may be strange.  Feelings are such real things and they change and change and change” [Its All Right to Cry].

As I prayed that the next day would be easier for Ben and me, I thought of how to see God in the midst of this always changing myriad of feelings. Process theologians argue that God desires intensity of experience. Having more feelings means we have a more complex experience and a more intense engagement with life. This suggests to me that God wants us to feel and feel and feel all the feelings.

In this time of transition, Ben has reminded me that all of our feelings are real and valuable. Even (and especially) when they are uncomfortable, they tell us something important about the world and deepen our experience of life. And at the very least, we can trust that they will change and change and change.