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.
Thank you for this. I am just heart broken laying here this morning and I thought - I should check Tricia’s blog. My husband decided on July 1st that he doesn’t want to be married anymore. He is an alcoholic. I love him so much and miss him. I don’t want this. I am just devastated. We have been married 26 years. I feel like everything has been ripped out from under me. And I feel like everyone is tired of seeing me cry and they think - It’s been 6 months. Get over it already. - I truly don’t know how to move forward.
I read your books as you walked through that valley and I cry now as I rejoice with you. God's path for each of us is different. The pain is different. That path to healing is different. But, oh Tricia! I am so grateful for your words in sorrow and your honesty in joy! The God that we serve is the same.
What a wonderful writing! You are such a gifted writer. I can too relate to this passage,,even though it’s been nearly 26 years.
Thanks for sharing your heart!
Beautiful. Savor your miracle.
I’m not a young widow, I’m 55, but I am in the throws of my grief and can’t possibly imagine that I’ll ever find my joy again. I was married for almost 34 years (the 17th of this month is my anniversary-2days from now). My husband fought a short but brave 6 month battle with cancer and he died in April. This is my first Christmas without him, my kids are all grown and I’m struggling to find the joy, but reading your beautiful words gives me hope, so thank you.
Kim... I'm a 56 year old widow, who also lost my husband in April after a 13 month battle with cancer. A horrible awful crazy battle. Tricia's words do provide much hope! So, does knowing there are many in our shoes. Grief Share has been a wonderful help to me. I'm different than your story in that Rob and I had only been married for 4 1/2 years. Our anniversary in August was very hard. Will be praying for you the next few days!
Thanks Tricia for this beautiful and touching piece during our endless breaking time. Much love to you!
"And it makes me thankful I did all of the writing back then, when the pain felt indeed too hot to touch." That's why the Lord gave you the gift of writing, so that your journey through such devastating pain and sorrow "back to life" can provide hope for those going through the same thing. It's a blessing for all of us. Thank you, and may you and Peter and your young men have a blessed Merry Christmas!
Oh my goodness. You and Isaiah wrote this for me, as well.