"A good name is better than fine perfume,
and the day of death better than the day of birth.
It is better to go to a house of mourning
than to go to a house of feasting,
for death is the destiny of every man;
the living should take this to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
because a sad face is good for the heart.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.
It is better to heed a wise man's rebuke
than to listen to the song of fools.
Again there seems to be many contradictions from Solomon's previous words, but I think that he is looking from a different angle on this. We should enjoy everything that God has given us, but when adversity strikes we realize how short life really is. We should then live wisely and redefine our character to get the most out of life. In both Christian and Jewish cultures there seems to be a value in suffering and sorrow. Adversity is a refining fire that eliminates unnecessary elements in our lives.
Maybe for all the years of depression I went through my heart is now happy and strong because of it. We learn more about God and ourselves during difficult times. Do you avoid sorrow? Do you stay away from anything that could hurt you like relationships? We were meant to feel a range of emotions during our lives. Many people would not be where they are today if they did not go through some adversity. Sometimes it sets a burning desire in their hearts to accomplish their dreams that might never have happened if there was no opposition in their lives.
How could the day of death be better than the day of birth? When we leave here we will go to our final destination, this life if just the trial run of what is to come. We are sad when someone dies and leaves us, but in heaven there is rejoicing for those coming home. Thinking of death helps put thing in perspective. We are able to examine our lives, make changes and confess sins. How could a sad face be good for the heart? There are times in our sadness when we turn to God. Some people if they are having a wonderful life will never choose to come to God until there is a disaster. I would rather go through heartache with God than be blissfully unaware of Him for my entire life. Do not medicate yourself to keep from feeling pain. We are supposed to go through pain then move on, but when we delay that step we get stuck in a dark place. I have heard many people do this and they forgo birthdays, holidays and celebrations because they should have mourned and moved on, yet they were taking meds to numb them so that it makes it hard to get out of that fog. They are stuck in the time period that devastated them and they will remain there until they can process what happened then slowly move on.