“My wife and I were never able to have children,” he told me. “But years ago, someone told us to focus on the things we had been able to do since we were without children. Young Life, Youth for Christ – many kinds of youth ministry. And if we had had children, we couldn’t have.”
His eyes looked like they wanted that paragraph to sound pretty and hopeful.
Like frosting over asphalt.
“And does that help you? Does that help you to think on those things?” I asked.
His eyes softened and filled with tears, as if he hadn’t ever received permission to be honest about the emptiness in those words. “It still hurts.”
“Then let go of those words. Feel free. If that concession encourages you, then lean into it and hold on with both hands. But if it doesn’t, let go of it. You don’t have to carry around an explanation to make it okay – not if it doesn’t make it okay. Let go.”
* * *
“Sometimes those around us try to cheer us with platitudes. These are galling. We do not need people, in winter, telling us to buck up or snap out of it. We do need people . . . but we mostly need their silence or their laughter, their willingness to stay with us in the darkness or their ability, sometimes, to distract us from it. But their lectures and bromides are typically worse than useless.”
~ Mark Buchanan, Spiritual Rhythm