“GRIEF is a dark, lonely, private room with the curtains drawn, where cherished memories of laughter and tears dance with angels in the cathedral of the heart. No one may enter. None are welcome. No words penetrate its walls or ease the pain that fills it. The door remains locked until the will pries it open to allow the helpless, well-meaning, outside world to enter and interrupt its sanctity.”
— BILLY THORPE (1946–2007)
How do we contend with the rocky road of iniquity in the numbness of the grief-held pain? In that moment—and in polarising seasons—of the bitterest complaint of the soul, we reach out as if desperate to touch something, yet the pain is unreachable.
Minutes seem like hours and hours like days. Time slows and every heartbeat is a labour of languishing in boiling sea resembling lava. There may be a brief respite, but then we are plunged into that darkening again, only to see what we hoped for—a true salvation experience—wither into the ether of our time.
Excruciating pain is the patent seal of loss, especially in both the rawness and enduring reality of such a thing. Yes, there is a fading sense of reality cast over us, as we get used to a new experience of personhood that is cut off from the long-cherished notes we perhaps took for granted.
Change has come and this is a time we hate. We may even blame God or lament so much the present struggle that God is despised for a time. Why this? Why now? Why me? And a million other fragments of painful suggestion that are always left unanswered and unanswerable remain.
When Surviving is the Goal
I’m not sure surviving is the goal at all—certainly it is the meta-goal as we stand apart from ourselves. But sometimes the pain is far too great to conjure up a survival contemplation.
Still, we are here; here for a reason. There are those who depend on us. They link us up to the reasons for existing. God pray that there is enough of a reason that we can bear the pain. Hope is distant, but hope is real, or it needs to become real in our moment.
Surviving recalls a quiet symphony of awareness—it won’t always be like this; this hard. That’s a hope we can hold. We hold it and don’t let go. We add to this hope any tangible vision that seems real and hopeful to us—that ushers the sweet words of God into our souls: “I have a hope for you; a future where I will prosper you.”
Despicable days that give way to numbing nights where tears and breath become so tiresome; pain so valiant that pain itself is a hero and we are forlorn in hopelessness. Helpless, we are graced by God, with an awareness of hope; a vision or a dream or anything to cling to. Surviving recalls a quiet symphony of awareness—it won’t always be like this; this hard.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.