I read a piece by a favorite new writer tonight; then sat here on the cool edge of early night and let the tears flow over me and through me. It was not the first time today.
Her words about obeying sadness and working past learned behavior of believing that anything but happiness and light was a failure of faith struck a deep chord in me.
I have battled that. Feared that. Fled from that for so long. I have walked through so many empty barren streets in my life; there is no way I will not sometimes carry that darkness with me. If I am being truly honest with myself and my writing, some parts of my life are still a dark, empty road.
I do not fear the darkness. I have learned to navigate my way by stars and reflections from light warming rooms far across the fields of comfort and continuity, but there are times when the darkness feels as if it will overwhelm me. When the words that I know to be true in my heart, are a faint echo of a song that used to play and the strong foundation on which I tread shakes beneath my feet.
In times like these, I do the one thing I am so very bad at.
I reach out. Help me. Hold me up. Bear with me.
It is a small, select group of people for whom I reach. I can barely whisper their names. But I know I can. Pray for me. These are the ones that stand in the gap when I am the silent shell of my usual self; red-eyed and weary; hiding from the world behind a false smile or the bathroom door. Bear with me.
And for the longest time, I thought I was wrong. Thought it was failure and weakness to not be strong. Not be happy. Not be in the light at all times. But then memory falls like rain and pours out all the times that God has been near in the darkness. When it was in the still solace of the night and the quiet of the dusk that I found His voice and found His peace. God in all His wisdom called the night by name and knows the darkness as His own creation. He understands how He has made us and knows that while we will strive and aim and point ourselves at the light, we will stumble a little while in the darkness. Be thankful that His grace and mercy are there to catch us.
If you are in a time of darkness or shadow, can I encourage you that you do not have to immediately try and shrug this off and feel ashamed? There are times and seasons to our being, and there are moments when our joy will be muted. Not gone, but not springing out in full force. Joy never leaves, but sometimes it whispers. We will have sadness; we will have trouble in this life; and God in His goodness will carry us through. And if we are blessed indeed, we will have ones who will come alongside and lend their hands to carry us as well.
Whether you are carrying, or being carried, remember that we are created to love one another and bear each other up under the burdens that will surely come. Sometimes loving is stepping in when your friend is bowed low with sorrow and the heaviness of living. And sometimes loving is allowing someone else to fulfill their gift and hold you up.
I'm joining Simply Beth for her Three Word Wednesday link up and am looking forward to getting to know this circle of writers. For this link up, choose three words; share a post, photo, or scripture that highlights those three words; link up here; and share some encouragement and blog love with other writers.
I'm also joining Holley Gerth at her link up, Coffee for Your Heart, because I love the encouragement of that community.