I believe each of us have one great love of our life. Not that you may not find love more than once, but that one can't really be compared to anyone else.
I also believe that each of us has a great sorrow. Different people and situations may bring tears at different times, but the sorrow I am referring to is one that may be described as chronic. It isn't bound by time or space. There is a place in your heart that doesn't ever completely heal. The refrain of a certain song, or the way the light reflects on the water or the smell of rain coming triggers a a tightness in your chest and a stinging in your eyes. The term 'a broken heart' takes on real meaning. The ache is so intense you wonder how is continues to beat and preserve your life.
If you live in a small town or are a part of a constant community those around you know your sorrow. You know theirs. But the truth is that each sorrow is individual. We can dry tears and show grace, but the sorrow is personal. It is owned by the one grieving.
Honestly, if you did not suffer through the loss of a child how can you know what it feels like? If your father did not leave before you were born and was never a part of your life how can you understand? What advice do you have for the young mother with cancer if you have never been through chemo or radiation?
My great sorrow is having a child who has been a drug abuser for 10 years. Who has been to prison twice and more rehabs that I can remember. Since we began this nightmare so many people have offered their insights:
"You should punish her. Punish her more." Or, "You should forgive her. Forgive her no matter what."
"She has a demon. She needs prayer. You need to fast." Or, "She is a child of God. Love her. Love her more."
"Your too strict," then "You're not strict enough."
"Send her away," or "Lock her up."
"Push forward", then "Step back."
Through these years I have often met myself coming and going. I always believed that someone else must know better than I. After all, I had created this mess hadn't I? Everyone seemed to have words of wisdom, but none of them ever matched. And none of it worked. That is because many of the voices I was listening to were lacking two things:
1.) experiencing a child on drugs and in the prison system
2,) offering their own opinion rather than the Word of God
The Lord is looking for laborers who will be transparent. Believers who will expose their own 'great sorrow' in order to minister to another hurting in the same manner. To survive we often take our hurt and put it in a box and place it out of sight of others. We only open the box when we can deal with the raw emotions that come. To let someone else see the pain would cause us to be vulnerable in a world that is looking to eat us alive. We fear that our sadness will consume us. It has before. For those around us to realize we are broken would make us appear weak ...wouldn't it? Aren't I supposed to be strong, confident and with all my ducks in a row? Can my great sorrow be used by God to help mend another hurting heart? And, in the process, could I actually receive some healing myself?
The Father is also looking for people who will offer His Word and not popular opinion. Faithful friends speak the truth in love. They have compassion for the pain, but encourage you to do the right thing, no matter the situation. They are lighthouses on storm-tossed seas, a hand that lightens the load, friend that is closer than a brother. They come down into the pit of your despair, but they do not leave there alone. They take you up and out with them.
To those who have bared your grief to me in order to put salve on my pain, I thank you. To those who have used the Word to comfort me, correct me and direct me, thank you. My life is what it is because you did what was required.
Lord, help me. Help me to break free of the fear that comes with baring all my joys and sorrows. Help me to know how important it is to offer the help found only in your Word. Let me be a child of the Light, Father.