The blog has long been silent. I have a son who hides. When he is sad or hurt or embarrassed or guilty he quietly slips away and I find him alone, crying softly in a curled up heap. And it breaks my heart to see and sometimes makes me crazy with frustration because I don’t want him to feel he has to hide who he is and I don’t want him to be afraid to let others who love and want to help him see his tears. And I don’t know how to draw him out of the walls and I put my face to the ground sometimes to try to meet his eyes to tell him he is loved. And I look at this boy and see he is much like me.
Living in a houseful of boys has many funny moments to be sure. And amid the endless conversations about Batman and Star Wars we have some deep and meaningful conversations that are golden and I marvel at the way they think about things and I am stretched also and it is a delight to share these moments and write them down to remember. But life is messy. And like my house where I try to contain the mess yet sometimes it reaches every corner, life’s messes at times hit all over. And I can still laugh and enjoy the happy moments in our house, but I cannot write as though that is all there is when sickness and grief and pain are a very real part of living and there is no escape from it. And Doubting Castle and Giant Despair from John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress fill the horizon and block out the light at times and it is hard to keep going.
But before all was lost, Christian remembers the Key called Promise, and it does not fail to open the gates of that dungeon. And here is the promise given to me last Saturday, delivered by Ann Voscamp: “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.” (Psalm 23) Follow. The same word used when Lot was captured and Abram followed him to set him free. He chased after them to rescue his nephew. And goodness and mercy pursue me. It is a promise, and truly is my key to escape despair, for sometimes it seems heartache is what pursues me. But even in the heartache, in fact because of it, I have known the God near to the broken-hearted. I have laid on the One who saves those crushed in spirit, and I have been and continue to be comforted by the God of all comfort. And while the sin and sickness in this world greatly affect me and mine, I have known the hand of God lifting my eyes to meet his eyes filled with love and I trust that all that comes through the hands of the God who loves me to his own hurt is grace to me. And grace is not necessarily what makes me happy, but what makes me more like Christ. And sometimes I long to stay in a place of respite on the Hill called Difficulty and sleep away the troubles instead of facing the trials in this life, but I am merely a pilgrim on this journey. And another promise tells me that the joy that awaits me at the journey’s end is unspeakably greater than any trial here.
“In this world you will have many troubles, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” John 16