Sad Crowns
By Anthony Casperson

It had already been a long day. And it was only 9:30 in the morning.

Reluctantly thinking about everything I had to do for the rest of the day, I ambled with my tray of breakfast to a secluded part of Burger King. As I neared my intended destination, I saw something I wasn’t expecting. A crown rested on the countertop. Not a royal crown. (Don’t be silly.) No, this was one of those cardboard crowns kids can get at the fast food establishment.

Only this crown wasn’t the gold color I’m used to seeing. Rather it was a dark shade of blue. And a frown topped the headgear. Written underneath, it said, “No one is happy all the time. And that’s okay. Feeling your way is just as important as ordering your way.” (See picture above.)

And that made me smile.

It’s not because of how the restaurant called out their main competition’s kid’s meals (the happy meal) while attempting to capitalize on people’s real issues. Nor did I smile because of their blatant advertising of their slogan “Have it your way” in the middle of a show of comfort for those who live with extended stays in depression. Those thoughts came later when the jaded part of me took control, reminding me of the darker side of such advertisement.

Rather, my initial smile came because that crown (inadvertently, or not) spelled out what has taken me most of my life to realize. It’s okay to not be happy. There’s nothing definitionally wrong with us when we have hard times. Being sad or feeling depressed doesn’t have to mean that there’s something wrong with us.

When I began this website three years ago, my very first blog set the tone that I hope to continue as I write. God reveals beauty to us in the midst of our pain. Our hard times allow God to use and shape us for his glory.

Today, we celebrate the three-year anniversary of Brushstrokes of a Theonerd. An amazing feat in my own eyes to be sure. But that is multiplied when I remember that this all exists because of my own anxiety, which led to a panic attack, which led to life change on my part. God used pain to bring about what I hope is a beautiful extension of his work in our lives.

James, the half-brother of Jesus, wrote in the first chapter of his letter to the church in Jerusalem about those who stand fast under various trials. In their particular case, it was about persecution. However, he does write of trials of various kinds, which would include dealing with depression, anxiety, and the like.

And do you know the reward for those who unwaveringly face their adversity head-on, side by side with their Savior? They get a crown. Not a crown of cardboard that will fade away, but an eternal crown of life from the God who loves us enough to lay down his life for us.

It’s okay to not be happy all of the time. Perseverance, blessing, and a godly reward come to those who don’t retreat from their hardships, hiding behind a fake smile.

And maybe, that truth just brought a real smile to your face.