Have you ever read a letter to someone else and felt absolutely certain it was written to you? It’s an odd thing. Like eavesdropping and finding the clue to the golden ticket. It’s a holy thing, that moment.
I was reading Isaiah for a different reason when I happened onto this verse:
The Lord has called you back from your grief –
As though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband.
Um, hello there, Words For Me.
Words for My December.
I read them aloud to Peter, and he said, “Except for the ‘as though’ part. No metaphor here. You were a real, young wife, abandoned.”
True story. And I have been called back from my grief, into a season of joy.
In that same chapter, I found these words as well:
You will no longer remember the sorrows of your widowhood.
Those words are for me. They were written to and about the future glory of Jerusalem, but this Christmas, they are mine.
In the past, anytime anyone suggested a healing so complete that it leads to unremembering, I resisted it. Because I thought that forgetting the season meant forgetting Robb, forgetting the darkness of the loss and the journey of the healing, which are things I never want to forget. Scars of healing, badges of honor.
But I see now – it isn’t about that. The truth is that I can no longer recall the truest sorrows of widowhood. The dark nights, the aching pain, the endless breaking… I remember them as a vague shadow, no longer a searing, white-hot flame. I cannot remember them.
You know how you can look at a picture and remember how it felt on that day? You can bring back the emotions that come with the memories? I can remember the darkness, the heaviness. I cannot recall the sorrow. I can’t revisit that anymore.
It is a miracle. A very true and real Christmas miracle.
(And it makes me thankful I did all of the writing back then, when the pain felt indeed too hot to touch. Because I can’t get to those details at all anymore.)
In Genesis, the angel asked Hagar, “Where have you come from, and where are you going?”
I have been a widowed single mom,
swallowed in grief and unable to rejoice.
I have come through the valley of the shadow of death.
I have been sad and broken.
I have been a woman who longed for healing.
As Hagar praised, so do I.
“You are the God who sees me.”
~ ~ ~
To my friends in the dark valley of the searing pain,
Stay the course.
He sees you.