My dad asked me the other day, “what would you want someone to say to make you feel better? What are you looking for?” This was after he looked at my red, puffy eyes and knew it had been a morning.
The church service that morning had been beautiful. Talking about grief and suffering and how Jesus didn’t get to fast forward through his pain on his way to the cross. But instead, He got to sit in it. Feel every fiber of hurt and pain. Carry the burden of the world’s sins. Literally, as he road into Jerusalem, people waving their palm leaves. He knew. Despite the grand entrance. This was the beginning of the end. And yet, that next week, He was resurrected. What a beautiful symbol of hope and a reminder that even through pain, miraculous things happen.
And yet, there I was crying away the morning. I was mad. I was bitter. That story has already been written.
But what about the stories that remain unwritten or left with the struggle, the pain, and the hurt? There are plenty of people who suffer one day, and then they go on to continue suffering for years and often the rest of their lives. What about them? What about during the suffering? What about the people whose suffering doesn’t have an end date?
Our society, our media, our Christian faith likes to put suffering into a neat, tidy box. Like “okay, this will go on for “X amount” of months and then eventually, it won’t hurt as bad and then you’ll move on. The End.” Or even, “read that Bible verse to find your peace.” Again, none of this is bad advice, but does any of this fix the current pain, the current despair?
Cue my frustration. We are coming up on our 3 year struggle with fertility. This hasn’t been a season. This has been a desert. It has been hard, lonely, trying, infuriating, and so deeply disappointing I often parallel the experience to feeling like I’m being swept under a current, gasping for air, flailing my arms around. Excuse my vivid detail, but this courses so deeply through me, it’s hard not to describe to you.
My thought and question along this journey has always been the same. What do people do along the way? Along some of the absolute most treacherous days? When the pain doesn’t falter and the tears won’t stop.
I absolutely love and admire those who reach out and share their story to the world, but 9/10 it’s after the fact. When things are now resolved and tidy and now they feel comfortable to share with others. They got the kid. The job. They beat cancer. They lost the weight. Beat depression. Each of these things are ABSOLUTELY MAGNIFICIENT.
My questions though is…… What about the before? What about the sticky, uncomfortable parts when no one really wants to ask, but it’s still going on anyways?
I’ve been grappling with these questions the past few days, hunting for an answer, but mainly just sitting in the uncomfortableness of grief.
I don’t know. I only know that there are people in your life that brighten you just by being in it. That there are sometimes songs that speak to you. Verses that lighten your soul. And there are experiences, sunsets, rainstorms, sunshine, seasons that stop you in your tracks.
I know my journey is unique and my grief feels completely insurmountable on most days. And yet, I sit here on my computer typing away thinking of others in their grief. Of grief that could probably knock my shoes off and take the wind completely out of my sails. And for those people, I want to say simply you’re not alone and I’m sorry. My heart goes out to you in the deepest possible way.
We don’t get to choose the grief and the pain, but I’ve realized we can choose a perspective, even if it’s simply grasping at a word, despite all the anger, sadness, and heavy disappointment.
Any day. Every day. I have faith and I can trust God knows my struggles. I whole heartedly believe this. From there, I send out positive vibes, prayers, and good thoughts to those who are forging through all of this.
Some days I truly need to yell and sob and question God. Other days, I need coffee with a friend. What a juxtaposition, right? And some days I throw out these thoughts to the abyss. I’m not truly sure that there is just an answer, but I know there’s hope.
So, I’ll leave you with these two thoughts I found while journaling this past weekend that brought me a glimmer of inner calm.
“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him. “
“The presence of fear is a sure sign that you’re trusting in your own strength.”
-Course of Miracles