When Sarah was Really, Really Sad

My friend Sarah is 8 years old. One day not too long ago she woke up really, really sad. Things had not been going well for her. Her teacher Miss Smith was going to have a baby and Sarah was really happy about that but Miss Smith was not going to be at school for months and months. Sarah’s best friend Joe was moving away and she worried about who she would sit with at lunch and who she would share recess time with when Joe was gone. And then, she had just learned that the summer camp that she looked forward to all year had been cancelled. 

Sarah felt really, really sad. 

On this morning, not too long ago Sarah got out of bed and went downstairs. Her brother was already downstairs working on his lego robot. He said to her “Oh Sarah. You look so sad! Everything about you looks really sad.”

She said “Yeah, I’m really sad.”

In Sarah’s family they had a special way of helping when somebody was sad. So, he said to her “Do you want me to try to cheer you up? Or do you want to talk about what is making you sad? Or do you just want me to keep you company?” 

Sarah thought. Then she said “I want you to cheer me up and then I want to sing the “Be Well” song. 

Brother said alright. Then he made the FIVE mouth noises that he knew how to make. Sarah giggled and giggled. She was still sad but now there were some bubbles in her chest. 

Next her brother took her hands and looked right into her eyes and he sang “All will be well, all will be well, all manner of things….will be well.” 

Sarah breathed for a minute, and then brother went back to his robot and she poured a bowl of cereal, poured some milk on it and started to eat. 

Then mama came downstairs and took a look at Sarah and said “Oh Sarah. You look so sad! Everything about you just looks sad.”

Sarah said “Yeah, I’m really sad.” 

Mama said “How can I help? Can I cheer you up? Do you want to talk about what’s making you sad? Or do you just want company?”

Sarah thought for a minute and she said “I think I want to talk about what’s making me sad.” 

But Sarah knew that mama had to make her coffee first. So Sarah finished eating her cereal and mama made coffee. Then they climbed into the rocking chair and Sarah settled in and mama held her close. 

Then Sarah said “Miss Smith is leaving to have her baby and I’m really going to miss her. And Joe is moving away and I’m not sure who I will sit with at lunch or who I will play with at recess. And camp is cancelled and I look forward to it all year long. I’m sad.”

Mama listened and held Sarah close and rocked her back and forth, back and forth for a long time. Then mama said “do you want the Be Well song?”

Sarah said “Yep.”

So they turned and faced each other, and they held hands, and mama looked deep into Sarah’s eyes and sang “All will be well, all will be well, all manner of things…..will be well.” 

Sarah and mama rocked back and forth, back and forth. Until eventually mama needed to get up and fix her breakfast and get dressed and get on with her day. 

Sarah was thinking about what to do next. She decided to color a picture to send along with Miss Smith when she had her baby so Miss Smith wouldn’t forget Sarah. 

Now Sarah is one of those really lucky kids who lives with a grandparent. As Sarah was coloring her picture Grandma came in from the back yard. She’d been out gardening all morning and she came in with a big basket of strawberries.

Grandma said “Oh Sarah. You look so sad. Everything about you just looks sad.” 

“Yeah. I’m really sad” Sarah said.

Grandma asked: “What do you want me to do to help? Do you want me to try to cheer you up? Or do you want to talk about it? Or do you just want company?”

Sarah thought for a minute and she said “I think I just want you to keep me company. And then let’s sing the Be Well song.” 

So, they ate probably more strawberries than they should have. They were quiet for a long time. Grandma just kept Sarah company while she was sad. Then Sarah said “OK, I’m ready for the Be Well song.” 

They turned to face each other and they held hands and they sang together “All will be well, all will be well, all manner of things…..will be well.” 

Sarah went on with her day. 

She was still sad, but she wasn’t alone. 

Thanks to my colleague Tim Atkins who shared his original story “I Just Need to be Sad” which inspired this story. 

This story uses a line from 14th century Catholic mystic Julien of Norwich’s writings sometimes written as “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.” I sang it roughly to the tune in the song written by Rev. Meg Barnhouse. 

Please feel free to use this story as you wish with attribution. Thank you!

Published by Kari Kopnick

Pacific Northwest pluviophile, empty-nester with a soft spot for small dogs and a very patient husband.

2 thoughts on “When Sarah was Really, Really Sad

  1. Oh my gosh, this would be perfect for a worship service I have coming up soon! May I use it?

    in peace, Sara Lewis (she/her) Master Level Credentialed Religious Educator Director of Lifespan Religious Education Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation 360-786-6383 *Office Hours: Mondays 10:30-2:30, Tuesdays 9:30-2:30, Thursdays 9:30-1:30. *

    “We love beyond Belief.” ~Thandeka

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