A Great Sadness

A Journey on the Edge–The Great Sadness!

Luke 24:35-36:

“And as they told what things that were done in the way, and how he was known to them in the breaking of bread.

And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them “Peace be unto you.”

Psalm 118:

“O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good:

because his mercy endureth for ever. .”


These past months I have been experiencing what William Paul Young calls the Great Sadness”. not depression, simply a great sadness. Many days I shed tears spontaneously.

I have held the hands of people dying, seen the suffering of people with the virus; a couple of my guys have died violently,  and I see the pain on the streets each day– people sleeping in our doorways. ally’s and parks; many outside my doorway, always asking for food, a blanket, socks, and simply to listen. Walking the Haight most put on a show asking for money, but in talking with them there is much fear and loneliness.

I find myself understanding in visiting with my close friends, their lives are different, they have housing, food, and like having a good time with me, and comment sometimes that I seem different. There are really some aspects of ministry can not be shared.   And yet they love me.

And I am learning much in these months:

   1.  Many are experiencing that same sadness, never talk about their feelings; the rich, poor, homeless, young, middle-aged, and old.  In reality, if we tear off our outer coverings, we can suffer together, fine life together. We can share and bring healing to the world.

    2. There really are no solutions to end homelessness, poverty, climate change, etc. until each human being embraces the identity of sharing with one another simply as brothers and sisters;

    3. Finally, the gift given to me is simply  “Being”, to simply be open to letting others into my life, to suffer, to rejoice, and to care. To remember the challenge at my ordination: “To wait tables,” and be “a keeper of the mysteries”. And to hear the following words:

Wild Geese–Mary Oliver

“You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile, the world goes on.

Meanwhile, the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies, and deep trees, the mountains and rivers.

Meanwhile, the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.”

“Praise to You Yahweh Our God, Ruler of all, who has given us life, kept us alive and enabled us to reach this moment” (Old Jewish Centering Prayer.)

May we hear the words of the Universal Christ, always standing in our midst saying: “Peace be unto you!”


Fr. River Damien Sims,sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: