“When you are very sad, the only thing to do is to go learn something.”

  • “When you’re very sad, the only thing to do is to go learn something.”  Merlin to Arthur in The Once and Future King.  (Full passage below).

    For those of you reading this who are intimately familiar with loss and sadness right now, this is particularly for you.   But it is for the rest of us too.  For those of us who are sad about the world, or about health issues, or a lost love, or maybe just “what might have been” we need to learn something too.  Why does learning help?

    I will answer that with a story.  When my 89 year old father died about 10 years ago he didn’t give us much warning.  On Thursday we were told his lab results and he was gone by Saturday night.  My mother had a very difficult time processing that her husband of 50+ years was gone and to compound matters, 30 days later she was told she was in the early stages of dementia.  When it rains it pours.  AND it surely did on our sweet mom.

    My parents history was complicated as all marriages are, in one particular way.  My mother had a long list of “honey do’s” that my ordinarily kind and sweet father adamantly refused to do.  Go figure!  So my wise and loving brother who was equally stunned by the loss of his father and best friend came over every week for two years and took something off the list of “honey do’s”.  And then when it was complete, he started coming up with things to create, to add to her home that he suspected she would really enjoy.  

    My mom never truly fell apart in the ways we all thought she would and certainly had every right too.  I believe the love and attention she received from my sisters and I was a part of that but I truly know in my heart that having something new to look forward to every week told her hurting soul, that while life held loss and endings, it was not just that, it also held discovery and beginnings.  My brother was as wise as Merlin, in the face of the biggest ending in my mother’s life, those constant new beginnings helped her through that very rocky passage.  

    So too with learning something new.  It fills you with beginnings and with discovery.  Learning is not just good for us as we age because it keeps our minds agile it also keeps our hearts and spirits young.

    From the Master himself, in his own words:  The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” 

    ― T.H. WhiteThe Once and Future King



    September 11th, 2014 | admin | Comments Off on “When you are very sad, the only thing to do is to go learn something.” | Tags: , , , , ,

About Nancy


Nancy C. Wonders is an interior designer. The “interiors” she designs are psychological, not physical, space -- a client’s personal interior landscape, or the emotional barometer of a team, or an entire organization. Nancy’s office includes a “design bar” where clients have a chance to re-invent how they see themselves and/or their organizations. These re-structurings result in discovering what is fresh, new and alive. This discovery prompts profound, immediate change, on both the inside and in interactions with others. Read more»

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