The Anticipated Month
May has come: my month of shadows, my month of ghosts. In the weeks leading up to the turning of the calendar I find myself bracing, gathering my armor, attempting to prepare myself for the onslaught of memories and pain. And yet I know nothing will quite shield me from the heartache. It has been four years, and I still tread through the month warily. To be quite honest, I tread through every month warily. Though I would call myself blessed and reveal that I am astounded by the joy and peace I’ve found, I cannot deny that there remain points of vulnerability, wounds that refuse to be healed, areas that are as tender to the touch as they were from the very beginning.
Those who have been impacted by loss no doubt understand what I mean. You know how it feels when a trigger is touched. It might happen as you drive down a specific street, see a certain person, or even smell a particular scent. Random, seemingly innocent words or objects thrust you back into a world of pain. Your heart skips a beat, and you blink back tears, but there is nothing you can do. The world rushes past while you struggle to catch your breath.
I remember at one point being told that a code for one of locked carts at work had been changed. “It’s easy to remember though,” a co-worker told me, “It’s [stating the code]. Just remember the digits for the date [saying the date of my daughter’s death].” I have to unlock that cart multiple times every day. It stings every time.
Where Do We Turn?
Where are we to go in those moments? As we reel from the pain, where do we turn? The indifference and blindness of others to our pain can leave us feeling more isolated than ever. Pain unspoken, unacknowledged can be so difficult to bear. As I walk through the month of May, I will vacillate between peaceful acceptance and agony, all the while making small talk with the neighbors, reading “Goodnight Moon” to my toddler, and listening to the general buzz of a world blind to my pain. And yet I must never for one moment think I suffer alone. The truth is, not one spasm of my heart occurs unfelt by another, for there is ever my good Father. He knows. The collector of my tears knows.
If I teach my eyes to look to Him in those moments of silent pain, I will never find myself suffering alone. If I teach my hands to reach up in hidden sorrow, I will never find my hands unclasped. He sees; He knows every trigger. As the Psalmist declared, He knows my thoughts afar off (Ps. 139:2). He is so familiar with the workings of my heart and mind that the slightest ruffling of my peace touches Him. He stands with me in my sorrow. After all, it was this role of Comforter He fulfilled on the night of His Son’s most bitter suffering.
As Jesus Christ grappled with emotional agony on the eve before His crucifixion, those around him literally slept. In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus, multiple times reached out to His friends. We see with such clear vividness Christ’s humanity: Jesus imploring His disciples, “Watch with me and pray…” For just one hour, He asked, stay with Me and pray. Yet we see those around Him falling short. They sleep while He sweats drops of blood. They are near, but they are blind. They are there, but they are deaf. As if accepting the limitation of human compassion and human love, our Savior lifts His eyes higher.
He turns His gaze to the One He knew would never fail to meet Him in His sorrow. He cries out to His Father. His Father draws near to Him. In that moment not only did Christ find the love and comfort, He longed for in His humanity, but He carved a path for future sufferers to follow. When the world is too busy, when those nearest us are blind, we need not weep alone. In those quiet moments of pain, there is ever a Companion, a Friend Who offers His hand for us to clasp.
The pain can draw us nearer to His side; the bitter hurt can bear the sweet fruit of fellowship. May has come. I cannot avoid the pricks and the stings. But with each ache I can move closer, inch nearer my Father and His steadfast, compassionate love. As I do, May will yield a treasure more precious than the pain it costs me.
If you are seeking support through prayer, please visit our Prayers for You page. We invite you to allow us to pray for you… for your heartache, for your family, for your future or whatever is pressing down on your soul today.