this wednesday, it rained. it rained…a lot.
i was awake, and even though my class was cancelled, i couldn’t sleep. another bout of nausea and stomach pain. i sat on the couch in our living room, and i looked out the white shutters onto 6th court south, and to mr. johnny and mrs. sarah’s house, and my white yaris, and our crooked steps. only, i couldn’t make out their house, or my car, or our steps, or even our street, because the rain was that hard. sheets of water pouring from the angry grey sky, splattering onto the worn and cracked pavement. i knew their house was still across the street, and the street hadn’t been dug up overnight, and my car was still parked along the curb (hopefully), but as i peered out the old windowpanes, everything ran together and was distorted by the water streaming down the panes, being blown onto our porch by the screeching winds.
in my own life, i’m having trouble seeing what’s ahead these days. everything seems distorted, and broken, and fuzzy, and unclear, through the haze of my tears, and doubt, and confusion. and while theologically i know that God is there–sometimes, it is awfully hard to trace his hand. i peer through situations and i try to focus and discern and see, and i end up more confused. i can’t see through the chaos of my own tears, and confusion, and sadness, and despair. i keep waiting for the sun to come out, but he’s still hiding somewhere behind the angry and forlorn clouds.
so what do you do in a situation like this? i could pull myself up by the bootstraps. make myself feel better, and act hopefully, and fake it until i make it. but in my experience, not dealing with things always comes back to, well…make you deal with the things.
one of my “weirdest” favorite movies is elizabethtown. in the movie, kirsten dunst’s character tells orlando bloom’s character to feel the melancholy of what’s happened. to sit in it. to fully embrace it. it seems a little bit to me like steeping tea in a cup. to let the sadness and heartbreak linger. to feel it fully, and gun-wrenchingly, and painfully, as it seeps into every nook and cranny, filling the silent spaces with its haunting and broken song.
so i’m sitting on my proverbial couch, and i’m feeling the sadness. i’m letting it wash over me like the ocean waves lapping over a toddler’s toes. and looking outside the proverbial window, and seeing no respite, no break in the clouds, no hope on the horizon. in fact, not really being able to make out anything at all, because the rain is so, so heavy and overwhelming.
and yet i hold this in tension with the reminder that, even when it doesn’t feel this way, i know Who controls the rain, and Who is sitting beside me on the couch, and Who holds my broken heart in His hands. it doesn’t make the sadness go away, but it does mean that there is Someone there to wipe away the tears, and to remind me that much better things are in store than any things we leave behind.
sing to me the song of the stars,
of Your galaxy dancing and laughing and laughing again
when it feels like my dreams are so far
sing to me of the plans that You have for me over again.
i wouldn’t say these reminders make the sadness go away. or that they make it much easier. it’s still there. it’s still hard. things still seem so unsteady, and so unsure. but the comfort in the presence of the Lord is that this is temporary and isn’t forever. that He is making all things new, and mending broken hearts, and that there will be a place where we will be free and whole, no longer creatures taken captive by our own emotions. and that, even on earth, maybe somehow He can redeem this whole broken mess and bring something beautiful out of my pain. eventually, the sun will return, and joy will overwhelm the melancholy, and it will be all the more worthwhile. and there will be light, and understanding, and things will make sense.
so for now, things are sad, and they don’t make sense, and i can’t see a blessed thing in the midst of this rainstorm. but, this is not forever. it’s not the end.