Last night, I came across a small article showing an “old man”‘s response to a question on reddit:
“My friend just died. I don’t know what to do.”
I am always up for reading and learning on how to deal with grief — if not for me, but to help friends out who are dealing with their own emotional wounds. Words are hard to come by, after all, when you are grieving over loved ones who have passed away. As I read on, I realized that a part of the elegantly worded response hit me:
“My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was.”
Since July 3, I have been going through a whirlwind season of change: from losing my job, to gaining a ministry; from leaving friends, to gaining new ones (and “sons” in the process); from letting go of a practice of a skill, to gaining the exercise of a gift. I have looked at my weaknesses and fears in the eye, and by the love of Jesus, I am overcoming them. I can see glimpses of clear, sunny skies but the fact remains: the process hurts.
Right now, I am looking at a crossroads and facing decisions in which I do not have much control over. As the reality dawned upon me that I will soon have to move out — not just from an apartment, but from a town in which I have started growing roots in — I could not help but look at the scars that have built upon my heart over the years.
I know– I am aware that those I leave behind, I will see again. It was what my nomadic childhood has taught me. I suppose I could be thankful that I have not experienced too many breakups, but I have experienced so many goodbyes with friends, that I was thankful for the reprieve in my adult life.
I cannot tell what the future holds — I cannot even tell what I will be doing the next week; but anticipating the date of my moving out has put me in an emotionally defensive position. I pray, and pray, and pray that I do not have to leave. I do not want to be uprooted anymore. I do not want to have to say goodbye to friends anymore.
It is an odd paradox, really. As I grew up, not only did I grow scars from the wounds of too many goodbyes, but I have built solid walls around my heart. Now that the walls have broken down, I am left vulnerable. I have begun considering building them up again — not let anyone in, not let anyone close; just to be facetious and polite, and keep things business-as-usual.
Then the Old Man writes that piece, and I am reminded as to why my walls came down in the first place; reminded as to why I cannot build them back up — and I do not want to.
Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.
— Psalm 30:5b
I was made to live hard, and to love hard. I have Jesus in my heart, and He is the one taking all the blows for me — He has already taken all the blows for me on the cross, and now He is just make me new and stronger. The night seems long, and it is always darkest before the dawn.
There are so many fears that He has overcome for me, but this one, I know, I must wholeheartedly surrender. He is living proof that goodbyes are temporary, after all.