28For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness
I am reading entries in my 2014 journal. It was a tough year. The one before was only slightly easier. Oh, there were good times, joyful, joy filled moments, maybe even most of a day but there was a pervasive shadow stalking the times of laughter and that shadow grew darker in 2014. The whats and the whys don’t really matter. Well, they matter to me and to loved ones standing in that shadow but the important discovery for me came in the growth and maturing I experienced in a darkness that almost swallowed me whole. Today I can see the good emerging out of that firestorm, and I know that my experience might help others caught in a sinkhole of despair and depression. I realize I have to start with the largest what and why after all. I should have been prepared to deal with the grief and fear that hit when a loved one’s world was shattered by a divorce, by betrayal, and despair as his life was blown apart. I am the daughter of a funeral director, raised over grieving families and friends. I knew the sad emotions more than the lighter ones, knew tears more than smiles. And yet when I saw my son caught in the minefield of loss; when he himself was lost, or almost lost, I wanted him rescued. I wanted me rescued. I wanted my grandchildren safe, away from the confusion and fear. I truly did not want to nearly drown in a flood of emotions. My response for many months was to push, to prod, to force, to yank, to do anything to get my son from hurt to healed with little allowance for time needed to face the horror before healing could begin. I am grateful that God slowed me down, reassured me that I could and would companion my son and my grandchildren through this trauma. I would not squash their emotions. I would not stuff mine. I would be real, truthful, honest. It took over a year for me to stop struggling and just be, to trust God in this and to begin to read books on pain, on healing, on dark emotions that lead to restoration eventually. As 2014 was ending, I was still firmly entrenched in the fix it mode, the rescuer complete with instructions on how to get on with it, how to stand tall and soldier straight, no matter what the cost. But I was beginning to wonder about the wisdom of this as I wrote this in my journal. “I think Jesus I have been frantically trying to not only light my own lamp but the lamps of others, especially my son’s. When all I can really do is light a match that goes out before it can even light a vigil candle. I have been so obsessed with praying for my son that I failed to remember that your eye is on him. You seek out the lost in need of rescue. I started to totally lose my way. My son’s tragedy filled my vision. Thank you that I slowed my pace as I hungered for quiet. And once again you broke through my own self-created darkness. I hear you clearly again. Help me Jesus. I don’t want to be a wound licker or a wound inflictor. Thank you for lighting my way.” And that light grows brighter eight months later. I can’t yet articulate where this lighter path is going but I know it is a path God has for me. I know those experiencing deep grief over hard losses need willing companions on that journey and God is equipping me for that.