“The quickest way for anyone to reach the sun and the light of day is not to run west, chasing after the setting sun, but to head east, plunging into the darkness until one comes to the sunrise. I discovered in that moment that I had the power to choose the direction my life would head, even if the only choice open to me, at least initially, was either to run from the loss or to face it as best I could. Since I knew that darkness was inevitable and unavoidable, I decided from that point on to walk into the darkness rather than try to outrun it, to let my experience of loss take me on a journey wherever it would lead, and to allow myself to be transformed by my suffering rather than to think I could somehow avoid it. I chose to turn toward the pain, however falteringly, and to yield to the loss, though I had no idea at the time what that would mean.”
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.
The worst kind of pain leaves no scars. The kind that cripples you, knocks the breath out of you- doesn’t even break a bone. Yet sometimes you wish it would.
After you lose a loved one, and it feels like your entire world has been wrung of any former semblance, you still look the same on the outside. Strangers walking by couldn’t guess. Your hair hangs untouched in strands. Even though tears have flowed ceaselessly across your face, until marks should have been carved, you carry no remnant. Even though you have pounded the walls with your fists and screamed into the wind until every fiber of you could not feel anymore, this kind of pain, this deep, elusive pain that all humanity has felt, remains hidden.
Yet it ebbs, wave after wave, sometimes a lull, sometimes so overpowering that you cannot focus on the present.
The process of healing is an interesting one. When the wounds are first inflicted, you never feel like you will be whole again. All you can feel is the searing pain that goes deeper than flesh and bone, that envelopes you in blinding fury. You know nothing of how to tell people what it feels like. The only thing that helps you keep going is breathing, letting your body expel hurt through your diaphragm, because your heart can’t possibly hold it all in.
Over time, the intensity of the pain lessens day to day, but you can’t shake off the sorrow that seems to run through your veins. You make yourself be part of society again, whether that be school or a job. You adjust, plug in, learn how to function the way people expect. It comes back in moments, without a warning and like a wave to knock you breathless. You’re driving in traffic and all of a sudden you’re sobbing on the steering wheel and don’t know where you are. You talk to somebody about a completely neutral topic, and a word or an image triggers you and you lose it.
More time passes. The earth turns, the stars fall, the tides recede- then, morning breaks.
And this is where it gets interesting. I think, this is a little glimpse of what we’ll feel like on our first day in heaven, and every tear is wiped away. Slowly, by His grace and love, you find yourself breathing at a familiar pace again. Things begin to change in your heart and you can’t quite put a finger on it, but it might have had something to do with encounters of the strangest kind, people who have experienced His love firsthand and were kind enough to befriend you when you were lost. All the demons that snuck into your house when it was empty and desolate, start to flee one by one in the presence of a light that begins to fill the place. Light that comes, as others speak truth over the lies in your life. As they stay with you when you open pandora’s box and can’t bear to look inside. As you find His presence constant, and true, unwavering in your rebellion, and He, ever victorious, sings songs through your darkest nights.