I remember it so clearly, like it was yesterday, like a shadow that laps at my heels that I am only-ever-always just barely outrunning. My Great Sadness.
Like bellybuttons, birthmarks and poop stories, it seems everyone has one. (And like poop stories, if you don't have one, be prepared - you're due.)
An all time low. A life-changing, life-defining, life-grounding season of darkness.
There's days when I feel so far beyond it. When I feel wiser and safer and stronger because of it. And I can write about coming out of hiding and fighting fear and being brave. And then there's days when it seems like I haven't made much progress at all. Like it's still with me, right beside me and it feels like I need to write my way out of it.
I remember back in the thick of those greatly sad days, a friend told me
"Not only will you get through this, but it will be an asset to you."
And I remember hot and furious tears, wishing I could reach through Gmail and strangle her and roar YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT. Because how could that ever be true? In what world was that possible? And she kept it up, this ridiculous and audacious encouragement and hope:
"God wastes nothing."
"Love will not betray you, dismay or enslave you. It will set you free"
And it made me angry because it made me hopeful and isn't hope just the most terrifying idea when you're sad? When you're sad, you reach for distraction and you shoot for happiness. But hope? That's just foolish.
I had a much different post planned for this week. But it just feels like this needs to be said for someone out there:
She was correct. Hope was correct. I got through it. I recovered and I healed and I flourished. Because in the very beginning, before sin and brokenness and sadness entered, we were created whole. We were meant to be whole. We are meant to be at home in a place where there are no tears, no pain, no brokenness, no darkness. A Great Love is in the business of making us whole again and there are no exceptions. Don't be like me, so prideful as to consider myself the one exception. That somehow my brokenness was bigger than His healing.
So let me say it, just so that someone is saying it:
Whatever it is, WHATEVER IT IS, you will get through this. You. will. get. through. this. And not only will you get through it, but someday, by His great mercy, it will be an asset to you.
Before it became a hipster-Christian hit that everyone started tattooing and pinteresting and Etsy crafting, there was this song that my bold and persistent friend sent me that I listened to on repeat, just letting it soak up my sadness, feed me toward hope. I still think it's one of the most beautiful string of sentences ever written:
All this pain, I wonder if I'll ever find my way, I wonder if my life could really change at all.
All this earth, could all that is lost ever be found? Could a garden come up from this ground at all?
You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of the dust.
You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of us.
You make me new, you are making me new.
And my asset? Well, that's the slow redemption. That's the being made new.That's the harder part. That's the faith at work. But here are the hints I'm seeing:
My most popular posts, my posts that fill my inbox with heartfelt responses that bring me to tears,that teach me and humble me and inspire me? They grew out of that Great Sadness. They feed others, who in turn feed me. Because the body heals itself. THE BODY HEALS ITSELF. By some strange grace, we build each other back together.