Image courtesy of Rebecca Webb Wilson, Hawkeye Nature Photography
How long, O LORD? How long shall I have perplexity in my mind, and grief in my heart, day after day? —Psalm 13:1-2
My friend followed me out of her mother’s hospital room to the elevator. “Will I ever be happy again?” she asked.
The question was full of pathos. She was the strong one, the one holding everything together. She was trying to maintain a job in another city, driving the six hours to Memphis nearly every week to care for her mother. But the routine of going back and forth, the daily conversations with an array of doctors, the frustration of navigating insurance issues, the agonizing what-next decisions, were wearing her down. Not to mention the worry. Not to mention the heart-break of watching her mother suffer the aftermath of a terrible car accident. My friend wasn’t sleeping well, the pounds fell off her already-too-thin frame. She was at the end of her rope. Neither her life nor her mother’s would ever be the same, and we both knew it.
Grief can be a very long journey indeed. If we could only see the end! If we could have some sense of when things might get back to normal. If we knew for sure that a day will come when we will be happy again.
The little snail traveling across the wide beach was less than half an inch long. With dogged resolve, it inched its body forward. Slowly, slowly, to answer to some inner call toward a food source, a mate, shelter. What was that inner call? Instinct? Life force? Love? Whatever it is, it was and is there in all circumstances and conditions.
In a rare moment of allowing her usual, competent, all-together self to drop away, my friend began to weep. We held on to each other, right there at the elevator, to heck with whoever saw us. As we did I felt that Love itself was holding us both. After a minute or so, we let go. My friend went back to her mother’s hospital room; I went about my day. But Love, I am certain of this, stayed with us both, calling us forward, making it possible to answer the requirements of the day.
O God, I trust you to sustain me day after day, in all circumstances and conditions. Amen.