Saturday, March 13, 2010

Day 233 - radiant grief

I had a dream last night. I dreamt that Anderson was walking around on his own. I remember him walking towards me with a sheepish grin on his face as he held a gift for me in his hands... a stuffed animal of sorts. I remember looking at his face... knowing the gift he carried was for me and I smiled... and I distinctly remember thinking that I missed seeing that face. I was rushing throughout the house... trying to clean, put things away... and also trying to find time to be alone with him. We finally found an empty room. As I was messing around with the drapes in the room, one of them fell off the hooks in my hands and I threw it aside and said I'll fix it later... and I heard his voice behind me saying "do it once, do it right" and it took me all of 10 seconds to fix it right then. I turned around and looked into his eyes and said "I love you so much". He closed his eyes... and I could tell from the way I said it... it meant so much more to him than just the words that came out of my mouth... behind the the words were the silent utterings of my heart that said "I love you", "I've missed you", "I appreciate you to the millionth degree", "thank you for loving me", "thank you for teaching me", and "you mean everything to me...and all the time in the world could pass and nothing would change that". It was a lot to say with just 5 words, but I knew that he heard it and felt it. His heart heard my heart speak with crystal clarity. And I watched and saw the evidence that his heart was moved. With his eyes closed, I watched big fat tears roll out and trickle down both his cheeks. And then I woke up. My eyes were still closed but I was awake. The last image in my head was watching his tears form and fall and the first thing I felt at the moment I woke were my own big fat tears rolling out of my closed eyes.

I woke up late and I was running out of time, but I didn't want to forget this dream. I don't dream about him often and sometimes when I do, it's not so beautiful or moving or encouraging as this. I jotted it down before I left the house. As I was typing out the gist, I cried again. I'm crying now just thinking about it. I miss my husband.

Widowdom doesn't define me. I don't want it to define me and I don't want it to be all that I talk about. At the same time, it seems like I can't get away from it either. I tried not telling people about it... but it never lasts very long. It felt fake, to hide that part of me. Could I begin an honest friendship with someone without divulging that part about me? I don't know. Maybe one day. But not now.

Weeping inconsolably beside a grave will never bring back the treasure of a lost love, nor can any blessing come from such great sadness. Sorrow causes deep scars, and indelibly writes its story on the suffering heart. We never completely recover from our greatest griefs and are never exactly the same after having passed through them. Yet sorrow that is endured in the right spirit impacts our growth favorably and brings us a greater sense of compassion for others... "The joy set before" (Heb 12:2) us should shine on our griefs just as the sun shines through the clouds, making them radiant... if we will turn from the gloom and remain faithful to the calling of God, the light will shine again and we will grow stronger. -J. R. Miller

I recently made a new friend. I didn't outright tell her about Anderson for a few weeks at least. When she finally did figure something out... she told me that when she met me, she thought the joy that I exuded came from being a newlywed. After she found out she was mistaken, she realized that the joy came from somewhere else... and that it could have only come from God Himself. That was one of the nicest encouragements I've ever heard. God was glorified and I didn't have to convince or explain a thing... my life (perhaps my heart, my eyes... my actions) said it louder than my words could have. How lovely is that?

I've met other people who read my writing with an eagerness that is amazing to me. I've met others who take breaks from studying and come visit my blog and then tell me about their life afterwards. I am so encouraged to hear how they have been encouraged and challenged by God through the outpouring of these words... of my life... memorialized little by little in relative obscurity in light of the vast sea of words, text, and information floating around on the world wide web. It's so special that something so simple and ordinary can make an impact on another human being... sometimes so far away... in a different place, a different life. I take no credit. All I do is write about what God has revealed to me. Most of the things I write about are things that take my own breath away as I realize how glorious our God is... how loving, how gracious, how wonderful, how awesome. I feel like I'd be doing God an injustice by not sharing the beauty and wonder He's allowed me to see.

I've met a lot of people since I've come home from Houston. I've reconnected with a lot of people I hadn't talked to in years. I've probably met up or caught up with more people in the past 7 months than I have in the past ten years of my life. What awesome opportunities I've been given! I don't think I've ever talked more in my entire life either. I've never had so many thoughts, nor so many urges to share these thoughts with others. I've also never been more happy, peaceful, or content. Words like awesome, lovely, beautiful, gorgeous, love you, and miss you have entered into my vocabulary with such frequency that I don't know if I could go one day without saying or writing at least one of them. What joy. What fullness. What blessing. Life is beautiful.

Radiant grief.

Light never shines as brightly as it does amidst darkness. It's all about contrast. Darkness makes light and color more vivid, more radiant, more beautiful. We watch movies in the darkness of a theater for that very reason. That pop of color in a neutral background draws your eye to it. It is special. You can't help but to notice it.

I got an email recently about someone else who, himself, is going through cancer treatment and the person who wrote it was awestruck to witness how he's handling his illness, with such hope, strength, and positivity. The radiance of our God is reflected by his life and his actions amid the darkness of cancer. Yet another example of radiance in spite of grief that should destroy us.

I'm kinda tired now. I wanted to thank you for encouraging me after my post on unawesomeness. I also wanted to thank God for encouraging me everyday in big and small ways... for leaving me love notes all over the place for me to find and be warmed and brightened... for radiating so brightly through the darkness of my grief and sorrow.

1 comment:

  1. "Light never shines as brightly as it does amidst darkness. It's all about contrast. Darkness makes light and color more vivid, more radiant, more beautiful. We watch movies in the darkness of a theater for that very reason. That pop of color in a neutral background draws your eye to it. It is special. You can't help but to notice it."

    I like that. Never thought about it that way. Great wordings.

    Stay strong. He's watching over you. =]