There was a ‘you’ that you vaguely remember from the days before your great loss or change. She was carefree in the normal cares of life. She enjoyed simple pleasures, unaware of the pain that was on the path ahead of her.
The change in your life, when it came, didn’t ask your permission to make everything about your life different and unrecognizable. In an instant, it was just there, and you had two choices: to sink or to swim.
They say that there all these different stages of grief that are necessary to the healing process. The wise ones will tell you, though, that there isn’t a straight line from one stage to the other. You know this by personal experience. Shock, denial, pain, guilt, anger, acceptance don’t come one after the other. They do a dance in your life, constantly changing partners, and you never know when your eyes open in the morning, which of these will be your companion of the day, week, or month.
Eugene Peterson writes of A Long Obedience In The Same Direction. You may not have read the book, but recognize that phrase at work in your life. You have walked, stumbled, crawled through your healing, You’ve climbed into Your Father’s lap; you’ve held onto His Hand. There were days you’ve allowed Him to carry you through the extremely difficult parts; and if you were to be completely honest, there were times you actually took some steps backward, but what you’ve not done is to allow yourself to stand still for very long.
I’m here to tell you that one day the clouds do part. Four, five, six years into the journey that began with sudden, violent change, and after your long obedience in the same direction, something will happen and you will see a glimpse of your old self before all of this. You’ll remember how she was before she knew all this pain and growth. You’ll tip your hat to her, but be grateful for who you are now.
And somehow, the Father who makes all things new, will take the best of her then and the best of you now, and give that combination back to you in return for having walked it through. We live with this paradox: we would not have wished this change on ourselves, but even that horrible thing that whirled us around through the stages of grief is pottery in the hands of the Potter, if we allow it.
The clouds do part; they will part for you. The time of grieving will come to an end. You can’t see it yet because you are still spinning and tossed about, but take it from one who is ahead of you on the journey: the joy of the Lord will return to you in good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing.
This is not me making light of your pain, of your journey. This is good news that I have been wanting to share ever since the moment the clouds parted for me. When it does happen, there is such a stark difference between what you’ve been walking through all these years, in comparison to what you feel in that moment. You get a glimpse of what carefree used to feel like, and its beauty allows you to let the joy of the Lord flow through you.
Weeping may last for the night, but joy does come in the morning, even if it takes years.
©Debbie Mendoza, July 2018.
Get a copy of Debbie Mendoza’s Exodus: A Journey Through Divorce on Amazon if you need spiritual help for yourself or for someone going through a divorce.