Tuesday, September 6, 2016

When Sorrow Finds Adequate Expression in Words

In the age of computers, still nearly fifteen years ago now, I had a typewriter.
It’s okay.  I didn’t want the garish IBM laptop that my previous employer had supplied me, with phone and car (so they could have access to my entire life).  The typewriter did not come with obligations; it did what I wanted it to do.  With diligent obedience it struck ink onto a sheet of paper with the precise purpose that my emotional fingers conveyed.  So many times that typewriter subserviently acted as the mediator in my grief.
Yet it’s only as I look back now at those sheets of sorrow that I see just what I often overlooked back then.  I would so often be frustrated by my lack of ability to appease my grief — little did I realise I could not escape what I could not run from, for grief and love coalesce anachronistically in events we cannot control.  Such a realisation makes grief a hundred times worse in a moment.  And yet, out of these courses, stronger we somehow emerge.
In the bitter throes of lonely reflection, alone enough to come face-to-face with my inescapable lack before God, I would sob and type, type and sob.  Looking out the window I’d wonder what had become of life, which, until a short time earlier, had seemed so easy (but weren’t — though they were a thousand percent easier than this!).  Some of the newest minutes and seconds were utterly foreign and the hours weren’t a whole lot better.  One hour could undo a day.  And some days were straight from hell itself.  But I had to find a way of expressing how I felt.  And there were literally hundreds of heavy days, where my fullest expression seemed never to help, yet, by faith, I continued to engage in the truth of my losses.  I had no choice other than to do what I felt was the only thing that helped.
Then I found the truth in this: Immersed in adversity, faith paddles tenaciously, and, in the pool of ambiguity, faith swims upstream toward the unseen origin of hope.
Rarely, if ever, does sorrow find adequate expression in words, but on the papers I have kept, I see now how those journals did help.
Although sorrow is the hardest thing to capture in words, we must attempt to engage, to make meaning, to traverse the chasm between grief and healing.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.

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