Along the path

It is a dark and rainy winter day, and I am looking for something. I am searching in the closet of the girls’ room when I come across a familiar but forgotten thing–Marissa’s purse. It is the last one she carried, and I gasp a little–a buried sadness surfacing.

A bag of almonds, in case she needed a snack. Several kinds of chapstick. A piece of gum. A verse written on a card.

And then a folded paper towel. I open it slowly, and the remembering washes over me. As I see the name and phone number written down, I am back in the emergency room on one of the hardest nights. I am hearing the worst kind of news and trying not to show the shock on my face. I am willing the tears not to fall down my face. The night nurse is scribbling a name and phone number on a paper towel. “Call if you ever need anything.” An acknowledgement of the darkness of the night and the coming sorrows.

And on this mundane day almost two years later, I am suddenly weeping. I am remembering so much of that cancer battle with all of its ugliness. And I am muffling my sobs in a pillow so my children do not hear me.

All at once, there are so many reasons to cry.

Some days it’s a slow walk through grief, stepping over obstacles you thought were thrown away long ago. Who knew the sorrow could suck you in like that, steal your breath in a moment?

That’s just the way it is. The path is long, and the suffering slows us. But it doesn’t mean we are not moving forward. It doesn’t mean there is no light up ahead.

Emotion is not the enemy of faith.

No, emotion can be the friend that drives us to our knees. It can open our eyes to present beauty and increase our longing for future rest. It allows us to curl up close near the breast of the Comforter.

Sadness? What is that compared to the faith pulsing in us? Fear? The fast beating in our chest slows as we consider the sovereignty of God. Suffering? Pain in this small breath of time will be forgotten in the wide expanse of eternity.

What emotion is overwhelming you today? Let it draw you to the One who suffered for you and is touched with every aspect of your suffering.

Let your longing lead you to the One who delivers and saves.

Let it lead you to the cross and to the Savior.

Let your soul be stilled.

He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  Psalm 23:3