I have learned a lot about pain lately. The kind that strikes your deepest core, because of unexpected news and even if it was somewhat expected the reality of a living nightmare – who really can be prepared for this. Diagnosis of terminal illness, divorce papers served, you pick the situation that seems out of control leaving you desperately grasping at anything that makes sense.
The pieces of a life once known have now fallen apart. In desperation attempts are made to pick up the pieces and put them together again, but they don’t fit together anymore like they used to. The living nightmare has forever altered your existence.
The pain strikes again and again like the endless pounding of a hammer stabbing your heart in 1000 different places. Each time it hits a new tender place, a place deep inside your being so deep you didn’t even know it existed.
The pain is cavernous. Emotions are pale to describe. Numb, yes, but there is the pain. Angry, maybe, but to truly feel angry would provide some release. Sorrow is not a strong enough word. There are no emotions to label this kind of pain that shakes the abyss of the very soul and cracks it wide open.
It is too much, my soul cries out, who can survive this? No one can…unless there is an openness to connect with the One who created us; the One who created emotions and created us in His Image; the One who feels what we feel, but to depths deeper than the ocean and far reaching than the undiscovered universes. Our Creater gets us, gets us more than we can imagine.
In these times of indescribable pain, it’s not about trusting more or believing more, it’s about being more open to God than ever before. It is about crying out to Him in honest heart felt prayers of, “I don’t know what You are doing or why You let this happen. Every fiber of my being wants to reject You or at least be as angry as five world wars at You; but I don’t know if I can make it through this and if I do will I really be living? I am tired. I am exhausted. Help me…… help.”
The One Who created us promises to restore our souls:
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads beside still waters; he restores my soul…
Even though I walk through the darkest valley….surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life….(Psalm 23:1-2, 4a, 6a, NRSV)
He is ready to start restoring, if we will only allow Him to. Openness can start as easily as a one word prayer, “help.” Repeat it as often as possible. The tinniest pinhole of light can illuminate a dark room and thus Jesus, the Light of the world given to the slightest openness can bring light into the utter darkness of the abyss of our hearts.
The indescribable pain I have experienced while grieving the loss of my friend has been anything but a Hollywood ending. It is more like the movie that ends with you leaving the theatre disturbed, uncomfortable and wanting something very different. However, with each cry out to God in anger or frustration or hurt or cries for help; bit by bit, piece by piece, He is putting my life back together. It is a different life, one without my friend, but it is a life and I am learning to live again as the Creator has a way of taking the ashes of my indescribable pain and recreating them into something new.
(I wrote everything but the ending paragraph last year in the throes of grieving my friend, Daryl Cahill, who passed away one year ago on September 19, 2011. Christ may be making me new, but she is brand new. She is where there is no more pain and Jesus Himself wipes away every tear. Sometimes I am jealous, but mostly I just miss her.)
P.S. Daryl loved sunflowers!