1319. We have to go into the despair and go beyond it, by working and doing for somebody else, by using it for something else. ~Elie Wiesel

One wants to believe that there’s one relationship
in life that’s beyond betrayal. A relationship that’s beyond
that kind of hurt. And there isn’t.
~Edited quote by Caleb Carr

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There is a brokenness
out of which comes the unbroken,
a shatteredness
out of which blooms the unshatterable.
There is a sorrow
beyond all grief which leads to joy
and a fragility
out of whose depths emerges strength.
There is a hollow space
too vast for words
through which we pass with each loss,
out of whose darkness
we are sanctioned into being.
There is a cry deeper than all sound
whose serrated edges cut the heart
as we break open to the place inside
which is unbreakable and whole,
while learning to sing.
~Rashani Réa

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An ex-student of mine posted a letter on Facebook today in which she asked us all to remember that for a variety of reasons not everyone will have or is having a wonderful Christmas time. And so today, I’ve given thought to things that break and shatter us at times. No one is exempt from sorrow and grief in this world. And though we must and should allow ourselves time to “hold” onto and weep over the “dark nights of our souls,” it seems to me that we also have to leave each and every heartbreak at some point in time in the past and then seek and use the “lessons” that the gouging of the soul has shed light upon.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. ~Psalm 34:18  ✝

**Images via the Internet; collage at top created by Natalie

1210. If grief can be a doorway to love, then let us all weep for the world we are breaking apart so we can love it back to wholeness again. ~Robin Wall Kimmerer

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us
to encounter everyday epiphanies, those
transcendent moments of awe that change
forever how we experience life and the world.
~John Milton

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When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
~Wendell Berry

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He (the Lord) maketh me lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. ~Psalm 23: 1-2  ✝

**Images of wood drakes and great herons via Pinterest; collages created by Natalie

1196. Every man has his secret sorrows of which the world knows not… ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I want to weep, she thought.
I want to be comforted.
I’m so tired of being strong.
I want to be foolish and 
frightened for once.
Just for a small while,
that’s all….a day…..an hour.
~George R.R. Martin

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My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.
Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.
Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned
He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.
~Corrie ten Boom

According to mom, I started walking around the age of 9 months, and a week or so after that she had to take me in for a check up with the doctor. During that visit he gave me one of those routine immunizations in my little derriere. When I got home that day, I went to take a few steps and fell landing right on the area of the injection. It hurt so much that mom said it was a few days before I’d try to walk again. The image above is a photo she took that day as I sat contemplating my sorrow. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that it has been my lot in life to deal with lots of physical pain, and from time to time I have to endure periods when it’s more prolonged and intense than usual. Sadly I can make no more sense of pain and suffering now than I did that day in the photo. Though I am a strong person, as of late there have been lots of tears, lots of doubts, lots of questions, and lots of needs for comfort. So tonight, I’m taking Shakespeare’s advice from MACBETH to see if that helps, “Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.”

My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word. ~Psalm 199:28  ✝

1191. Seasons of the heart…

Grief can be the garden of compassion.
If you keep your heart open through everything,
your pain can become your greatest ally
in your life’s search for love and wisdom.
~Rumi

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Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses
your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its
heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem
less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart,
even as you have always accepted the seasons that
pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the
winters of your grief.
Much of your pain is self-chosen.
It is the bitter potion by which the physician within
you heals your sick self.
Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy
in silence and tranquillity:
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by
the tender hand of the Unseen,
And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has
been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has
moistened with His own sacred tears.
~Kahlil Gibran

Then I would still have this consolation–my joy in unrelenting pain–that I had not denied the words of the Holy One.~Job 6:10   ✝️

1086. No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear. ~C.S. Lewis

There is a sacredness in tears.
They are not a mark of weakness,
but of power. They speak
more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.
They are the messengers of
overwhelming grief, of deep contrition,
and of unspeakable love.
~Washington Irving

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Nikki was born to us after nine years of marriage, 5 days before my thirtieth birthday and ten days before her father’s 37 birthday. From the instant of her birth, she was, has always been, and is still the greatest joy of our lives. And though James and I know intellectually that she is only 12 hours away by car or an hour and a half by air, somehow it feels like she is far, far away, on the opposite side of the world now. And it’s not that we don’t wish her and her family well. We truly do wish them the very best always, and we know that the Lord has laid this opportunity upon their altar of their lives for a reason. But James and I are lost in sadness at the moment and don’t want anyone to try to minimalize what we’re feeling or tell us it’s foolish or that it will be all right. Also, what Mr. Lewis said is very true because some of what we’re experiencing does feel like fear. Long ago I read in a piece of literature (The Miracle Worker) that we don’t just keep our children safe; they keep us safe as well. So today has been hard, very hard, and for me there have been tears, lots of them as well as fears for both of us. And when I’m hurting like this, I withdraw and become introspective as I search to find my bearings, my balance, my true north again.

When someone you love is gone
in some way from your life,
Your life becomes strange,
The ground beneath you gets fragile,
Your thoughts make you unsure…
~Edited and adapted excerpt
by John O’Donohue

“…Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” ~Excerpt from Joshua 1:9  ✝

1081. A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words. ~Unknown

Friendship improves
happiness and abates misery,
by the doubling of our joy
and the dividing of our grief.
~Marcus Tullius Cicero

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But oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one’s deepest as well as one’s most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely. Oh, the comfort—the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person—having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away. ~Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. ~ Proverbs 18:10  ✝

883. Remember what you’ve seen is oftentimes only what that person has chosen to show you. ~Author Unknown

 **This opening statement is true of me and I suspect many others. And so because of some troubling thoughts and comments made by others who are hurting, I’ve decided share a few things about myself and afterwards make an open offer.

Rain falls because the sky can no longer handle its heaviness.
In the same way tears fall because a person’s heart
can no longer handle its pain or heartache.
~Edited quote by
Dinesh Kumar Biran

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There is a poem by Saint John of the Cross, and in it he narrates the journey of the soul from its bodily home to its union with God. And I believe that everyone who has ever lived has experienced dark nights of the soul even if they’ve never connected with God. Life is hard, and as I approach my 73rd birthday, I can vouch that it’s not getting any easier. In fact a doctor asked me recently when was the last time I remembered having a pain free day, and I quickly replied, “when I was 25.” He was noticeably taken aback despite his years of experience, and although he asked me to explain all the details, I’m not going to take time to do that here. Let me just say that chronic, physical pain and loss of dearly beloved ones have created for me many a dark night of the soul. However, I’m as determined as ever not to let it define me nor keep me from enjoying life as much as I can. Now before you tell yourself it’s because my faith is so strong that I can say that, let me add that it was in my twenties that I also severed my ties to any church or religion and wandered long and far from the Lord.

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Okay now look at the photos above. They are of the Dark Hedges in Ireland which is an avenue of beech trees that was planted as an entrance to a home in the 18th century. However, they represent for me the seasons I’ve traveled through on my own life’s journey. As in the differing photos some seasons have been dark, some dark and cold, others hazy and unclear but not as dark, in some light started to shine but the richness of life still had not greened up, then there were periods of greenness but not much light, and finally there have been times when I’ve experienced both greenness and light. My point in sharing this is that I want to let anyone who reads this know that I’m here, that my email address is on my about page, that I’m a good listener, that I’m not easily shocked, that I will not judge you, that I will try to answer any questions you might have about how I cope, that I won’t expect anything in return, and that when it’s all said and done, I’ll put you on my prayer list regardless of whatever your faith in God is or is not. It’s not that I feel that I’m smarter than anyone else or that I have all the answers because I surely am not and do not, but after what I’ve lived through for nearly a half a century and with what I continue to endure, I have garnered at least a small amount of wisdom and gained a few insights along the way.

PS. I know that I am only here as a direct result of God’s amazing grace, and should anyone ask, I would love to talk with you about Christ’s living water and His offer of salvation. 

As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise You more and more. ~Psalm 71:14  ✝

**Images via Pinterest; collage by Natalie