We are in a new season from when we first arrived. The leaves are changing and so are we. Life has some rhythm, some routine. Ray has connections and work. I have some regularity to my days and my focus is not all on my own transition as much. I am observing and noticing.
I often used to pray a prayer credited to Mother Teresa: “Lord, help me to see the need.” She didn’t go looking for problems to fix. She knew they were all around her, she only needed eyes to see them. So that is how she prayed. Though I haven’t said this prayer in a while, I think God answers it still, even when I’m not expecting it.
My eyes and heart have begun to open. Not only do I see—I feel.
An old friend very recently experienced a tragedy I can’t begin to imagine. A child lost. Another friend faraway has begun blogging about her battle with depression. My heart breaks for them both and I find myself attempting to understand this particular kind of liminal space—the in-betweens that we did not choose.
Grief is a liminality all its own, and in any situation that we wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves there is grief. The Great Question is loudest in this space: Why?
Scrolling through Facebook a few days ago I was suddenly struck with grief. A picture of my friend, in the hospital, holding the child she had lost. Amid the trivial, meaningless, easily forgotten minutiae, there she was in unrestrained brokenness. I put down my phone, unable to focus on anything else, and began asking, “Why?” The image of her stayed at the front of my mind and I couldn’t look away. All I could see was sorrow but the Voice inside me urged, “Look closer.”
Amid the sadness, and inseparable from it, there was something else: bravery.
I sat yesterday reading the blog of my faraway friend and a similar contrast revealed itself. In the midst of her fight with depression, poured out in writing, there was the same bravery.
Both of my friends took a risk. They decided not to hide, but to say, “Here is my pain and brokenness, raw and honest.” They did away with pride and pretence. Can you see their bravery?
Sometimes the liminal space is a black abyss that we never would have willingly entered. The answer to the Why is unfathomable to our human minds on the edge of grief. But bravery is a bridge.
I’m sure you know the song. “…love is not a victory march. It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah…” Love is not in the Great Question or in its answer that we can not understand. It is in the honesty of admitting need. It is in shared sorrow on a path we hoped we’d never have to take. It is in the broken bravery of the one who keeps their arms open as they cross the abyss.
May we all be as brave as my broken friends.