Many years ago, when a dear family friend died suddenly in a tragic bicycling accident, I read a book called A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser. I will always remember an image the author shared. A deep darkness can envelop us in grief, but if we keep walking forward, eventually we will meet the sun rising over the earth to usher in a new day, a new season.
One foot in front of the other is how we get there.
Sometimes barely breathing.
Sometimes constantly feeling like we are taking three steps forward and two steps back.
Sometimes surrounded by complete darkness.
But eventually, if we keep walking forward, we will meet the place where the sun is rising.
Even though the author was speaking specifically about the long journey through grief, this image has lingered for me related to our day-to-day struggles through this crazy thing called life.
Sometimes things get so dark.
Many of us are in a season of transition, and transitions always involve grief.
It could be a loss of relationship or a dream or our health or security or faith or a whole host of other things that can cause the earth beneath us to shake and the darkness to set in.
I am in one of those seasons. Unexpectedly, The Refuge, the faith community I co-pastor, is experiencing an important transition in our life together. I have found myself having to lead our community without my friend by my side as a co-pastor. We are all finding our way together and I am grateful for the deep love and passion we all have for our community, but there’s no way around it—I’m grieving.
The old is done but the new has not yet come.
It’s tapped into some deep places in my soul that are so vulnerable and I can almost constantly feel the tears bubbling at the surface, leaking out at the first sign of pain.
I’m letting them.
I’m riding the waves of grief as best I can.
I’m trying to stay as present as I can.
I’m taking good care of my soul.
And I also have been clinging to this truth in the book of Lamentations 3:21-23, which comes right after over 20 verses centered on how hard and dark and painful things are:
Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
Yes, each day the sun always rises.
Each day is a new day to start over.
Each rising of the sun is a reminder of God’s incredible faithfulness to me, to us.
That I’m not alone, we’re not alone.
That our story is always unfolding.
That the darkness cannot win.
Not everyone reading is in a season where things are dark and hard and scary and overwhelming, but my guess is that if you’re not here now you either have been before or will be in the future.
It’s part of being human.
If you’re like me, sometimes you forget that “human” part.
You want quick results. You want a short cut. You want out of the pain at all costs. You want superhero powers.
I am usually so like that, but this time something feels different. Maybe I’m just more tired than I’ve been in a long time and have no ability to even muster up the thought of moving quickly.
Or maybe for the first time I’m realizing that the sun will have to rise and fall countless times over and over again as I keep walking toward something new and there’s no need to hurry.
I don’t know where you’re at in your story right now, but if you’re in the dark in some way right now, I honor your pain.
It is hard to not know.
It is hard to wait.
It is hard to stay in.
It is hard to let go.
It is hard to trust God.
It is hard to trust others.
It is hard to hope.
It looks different for all of us, but I know this–you’re not alone in the hard.
And we all can embrace a beautiful gift with a powerful rhythm in the midst–that when that big bright orange orb slowly rises and fills the sky with light we can remember—”God’s mercies begin afresh each morning.”
No matter how hard, no matter how confusing, no matter how dark, no matter how exhausting, no matter how angry, no matter how hurt, no matter how frustrated, no matter how numb, no matter what.
The sun always rises.
Shelovelies, may we keep rising with it.