Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Thing About Sorrow...

The Thing About Sorrow…

One minute you’re sitting in a Nigerian classroom.  One minute you’re running a half marathon.  One minute your family is joyfully anticipating the birth of a baby.

The next minute you're brutally kidnapped from your Nigerian classroom. The next minute you collapse in a heart attack at the end of the half marathon—though you were in shape.  The next minute your son-in-law (the father of the baby) is diagnosed with acute MS.

The thing about sorrow is that sometimes it comes from nowhere.

No, that’s not true.  It comes from somewhere—a fallen world.


The thing about sorrow is that no one can take the place of the person who is experiencing that particular sorrow or pain.  Each person occupies a singular space with God alone.  Only those girls know what it is to be kidnapped and exploited—and even for each of them the experience is not exactly the same experience.   Only those girls’ mothers know what it is to have a daughter taken, and for each of them it is their own experience.  The same goes for the fathers.  The same goes for the woman who collapsed at the end of her race.  The same goes for her husband.  The same goes for her children—and each of her children will experience it differently.

And I cannot occupy the space my son-in-law occupies—a young, married man about to be a father whose life has taken a radical detour.  And I cannot occupy the space my daughter occupies.  With any future MS relapse, even they will not experience their own experience in the same way.

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.  ~Heraticlus

I want to occupy these spaces for them, or at least with them, but the best I can do is come along side flush and offer an abundance of love, support, and prayers. 

I picture our lives like a honeycomb—we each have our own space, but we come along to buttress one another, love one another—and that has a way of helping our temporal bodies feel connected instead of lonely.

The thing about sorrow is that sometimes people on the periphery wittingly or unwittingly exploit it for personal aggrandizement or gain or for political purposes.

The thing about sorrow is that it gives those of us on the periphery the opportunity to practice selflessness.  It’s not about me.

The thing about sorrow is that it doesn’t last forever. 

Even if it feels that way right now.

Even if our time on earth ends that way.

The thing about sorrow is it flows, eventually giving way to the joys of God’s promises. 

The thing about sorrow is that sorrow itself is not our constant—God is.

All in Goodwill,
~Lisa


16 comments:

  1. Lisa, this past month I've been on the perimeter as four friends said "good-bye" to two husbands, a daughter and sister, and a mother. You are so right. It's a helpless feeling, except for the strength and grace you see in them as they lean on the One who has gone before. Praying for your family as you live and observe those sudden changes. They're inevitable, but we're never ready for them. God Bless you. Hugs.

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    1. Nancy, you have the gift of encouragement, and come up along side so many of us in both our joys and sorrows. Love back to you.

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  2. The river flows; it is the constant, as are the rocks and the bed upon which it moves. Such is life, as cliche as that may be. When the river rages, we are powerless, yet it is life giving in the broader picture. May the pain of those forcibly removed from or dammed from the flow wash away. Christ will see the riparian order restored. Bless you.

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  3. Thank you Lisa. I needed to be reminded that "sorrow is not our constant--God is" and that eventually sorrow will give way to joy. I am standing alongside so many hurting people at the moment, sometimes the weight is too much.

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    1. Yes, sometimes it feels like the entire world is in pain--and in a way, I suppose it is.

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  4. Yes! Sending you hugs, and remembering that prayer, and being a cell in that honeycomb, is sometimes all we can do. But He is our constant.

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    1. Thank you, Jo--I have thought about you often in recent days.

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  5. Your beautiful blog from the depths of your heart reaches to the depths of mine.

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    1. I'm so thankful for our friendship, Verna--I hope I give you at least half the love and support you give me. Actually way more than half:).

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  6. God reshapes that sorrow, makes stronger walls, so you CAN buttress another, within the honeycomb of His will. II Cor. 1:3-4 Praying for you all.

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  7. "The thing about sorrow is that sorrow itself is not our constant—God is." Powerful, God-given wisdom right smack in the middle of your struggle. He does care and He won't leave you and many are praying for you. This post is spot on, my friend. I love you.

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  8. I've been grappling with the pain and loss I see all around. This is such a helpful and thought-provoking take on it.

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    1. I hear you, Elizabeth--sometimes it feels like we're in a collective season of pain and loss--but then we'll witness or experience something lovely and/or joyous and know there are other seasons.

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