Below the Surface

On the weekend of October 13, I left with our youth for our annual fall retreat with one question in mind. What would it look like if instead of fighting or ignoring our emotions (as teens and so many of us often do), we acknowledged them for what they were? An integral part of who we are and what we need intertwined together to make us into full, authentic human beings. Our retreat this year was called “Below the Surface,” and our theme was focused on how we use and often misuse our emotions. Why our feelings are important, and how when we better understand them, we can better understand ourselves! If you’re not familiar with Inside Out, allow me. It takes place inside the mind of a twelve-year-old girl named Riley. In Riley’s mind, her five main emotions exist as beings that function as people living day to day just like you and me. Throughout the course of the film, we see Riley experience a range of emotions, I won’t spoil it for you, but I will heavily endorse it. Everyone should see Inside Out. Using the film as our jumping off point for the weekend, we built our sessions around our own personified emotions. Throughout our weekend we discussed anger, joy, and sadness, and the vulnerability that comes with feeling them freely. Most importantly, we talked about how all of our emotions are working together to make us whole, and we can’t have one without the other. In Ecclesiastes 7:14 Solomon wrote, “In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity, consider God has made the one as well as the other, so that no one can discover anything that will come after him.” In one verse, Solomon cosigns the central premise of Inside Out—both joy and sadness, as well as all the other things that we feel serve a purpose in our lives. God wants us to commune with the fullness of who we are, and to share the fullness of who we are with each other. Our feelings matter, they are gifts. Feel them freely.

Sarah Laurence