If You Can’t Silence that Sad Song, Make it a Duet

The holidays are not happy for everyone. And I’m not just talking about the Grinch. Many can find it hard to smile, to brighten the room, to attend the party, to enjoy the company, or simply to look to heaven and give thanks.

This world is tough. And sometimes the holidays shine a spotlight on the pain that otherwise is more easily tucked away. Anxiety, depression, grief, loneliness, disappointment, guilt, shame, and regret, can all make it difficult to make merry. And that’s okay. It won’t always be like that for those who follow Christ. But maybe you need to hear what one pastor likes to say, “It’s okay to not be okay.”

I watched the documentary about the life of Fred Rogers the other night. One scene really affected me and I think it might be a helpful for others too. Daniel the tiger, voiced by Fred Rogers, was singing a song about feeling like a mistake. Instead of learning a lesson and changing his tune, Rogers chose to have another character, Lady Aberlin, sing along. While Daniel can’t completely silence his fear, his thoughts are at least mingled with hope and encouragement. Here’s the words to the duet – trust me it’s worth your time to read:

[Daniel Striped Tiger]

Sometimes I wonder if I’m a mistake
I’m not like anyone else I know
When I’m asleep or even awake
Sometimes I get to dreaming that I’m just a fake
I’m not like anyone else

Others I know are big and are wild
I’m very small and quite tame
Most of the time I’m weak and I’m mild
Do you suppose that’s a shame

Often I wonder if I’m a mistake
I’m not supposed to be scared am I
Sometimes I cry and sometimes I shake
Wondering isn’t it true that the strong never break
I’m not like anyone else I know
I’m not like anyone else

[Lady Aberlin]

I think you are just fine as you are
I really must tell you
I do like the person that you are becoming
When you are sleeping
When you are waking
You are my friend

It’s really true
I like you
Crying or shaking or dreaming or breaking
There’s no one mistaking it
You’re my best friend

I think you are just fine as you are
I really must tell you
I do like the person that you are becoming
When you are sleeping
When you are waking
You’re not a fake
You’re no mistake
You are my friend

So, what can you do if you can’t seem to make that sad voice in the back of your mind go away? If it won’t shut up, don’t let it sing alone. Make it a duet. Add the voice of God in the Scriptures to your dirge. We see duets in the Psalms all the time, where the psalmist mixes his worries with the promises of God.

Know that you’re not alone. There’s another melody that’s purer, that’s more true, that’s singing over you. It will win out in the end. It will drown out every sorrow and every lie. And one day we will join in, singing along to a song that’s more powerful and more beautiful than anything we’ve ever heard.