“A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.”
Greeting card by Kathy Davis Designs (http://kathydavis.com)
There's so much pain in the world
I saw the above quote many years ago on a greeting card designed by Kathy Davis and have saved it all this time. Its message came to mind last week as I learned of a friend, younger than I, whose husband died in May after a recent cancer diagnosis. Two other friends have experienced the loss of a grown child recently, and a third has just learned her son has terminal cancer. My mother just went through her first anniversary without Dad, and I've just experienced my first Father's Dad without him. A young cousin with three small children is battling cancer. My personal prayer list is filled with names, each bearing a story of pain, sorrow, suffering, and loss. So very many people in my own circle of acquaintances, it seems, are vulnerable, sad, hurting, or just in some way struggling with the painful barbs life can sling.
When you’re wounded, it’s hard to see the light
I received the following Facebook comment posted by someone I respect and who has been a faithful supporter of my writing: “Elizabeth…much as I love reading your posts, have you never had anything that has rocked your world? Just wondering. My internal and external life is not calm; it is a constant struggle against great odds; children dying, young people needing help, friends failing, sisters being murdered, disaster happening all around. You have a wonderful appreciative nature of “how life should be” but are you really plugged into how life actually is… it is ugly, needy, and expensive.”
I didn’t take this as criticism, but rather as the outpouring of a broken heart speaking from a dark place where positive attitudes and cheerful quotations feel like sandpaper against sensitive skin. Rare is the person who hasn’t been in this dark place at one time or another in their lives, and I believe this is the place Kathy Davis spoke of in the quote above—a place where the song in our heart is silent and feels utterly lost.
Don't let the darkness prevail!
I am not a counselor, and sometimes it takes professional help to find your way out of the places of darkness. I have never experienced long-term clinical depression, but when I have known those occasional periods of darkness and despair, I've found that basic self-care was all I could manage. It was those who loved me who held vigil and sat with me in the darkness, holding my song in their own hearts until I was ready to hear it again. Cajoling and cheerful banter did not help and was not what I needed, but their solid presence and love was like a lifeline.
When you hit those spots in your life, I pray someone will be that lifeline for you. And if you’re blessed to be in a better place right now, think about whose song you might be holding in your heart. Be ready to be sing it back to them when they’re able to move towards the light.