Saturday, October 5, 2013

redemptive landscape of melancholy blue

You have had many sadnesses, large ones, which passed. And you say that even this passing was difficult and upsetting for you. But please, ask yourself whether these large sadnesses haven't rather gone right through you. Perhaps many things inside you have been transformed; perhaps somewhere, someplace deep inside your being, you have undergone important changes while you were sad. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

My life is lived in shades of melancholy blue. Leaning back to peer at the path on which I have walked, I see the sweetest shades of blue laid over the landscape of my life. The joys and the blessings have been terrifically manifold, but the sadnesses, although few, have seemingly run deeper, penetrating further.
 I often fear to confess that I live with this view of melancholy because, truly, I am a happy person who easily finds joy. I admit, I don't trust anyone to understand this lens through which I live life at times, probably for fear that they might desire me to change and stop all this "gloomy talk." Perhaps, from the outside, it makes me appear that I lack gratitude. Ah, but I am not speaking of an ungrateful heart. Gratitude and sorrow are not opposed, but can be experienced together, as I often do. I am merely speaking of feeling through the fathoms of this thing we recognize as sadness. There has been a empty cavern within that, through the bliss, seems to remind me of this emotion and experience that is very earthly and temporal. I don't often talk about it as much as I write, experience, and feel it from day to day.
  Sorrow. It is something we will only know on this side of eternity. I like that. As much pain as it brings, I like that. It is an experience that keeps me hungering, that keeps me trusting, knowing how temporal it truly is. It beckons me to look up and see that day....the day when...

 God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away. 
~ Revelation 21:4

To know that day. The day of all days. It will be that much more full, more real because of all that we have walked through as pilgrims on this earth.

I am still very young. In fact, I feel younger than my actual age due to my ever-increasing awareness of how little I really do know and how nonexistent the level of my control is over this thing called life. I can't say I have experienced the most unimaginable, horrific sorrows and losses in my life, although mine have managed to cut and bruise me terribly so. But can sorrows be compared? No one has ever been me in my particular, unique struggles; therefore, sorrow at whatever level, is felt in such a way that cannot be compared on a scale with the sorrows of others. 
But the sadness that unfurled to me in the dawn of my early adulthood did something to me.  
I sense that when I laugh these days, I laugh more fully, more genuinely. I am not so flippant as I once was. Not so half-hearted. Now, I am more fully present, more fully giving. More long-suffering. More understanding than the me that existed in years past. And, I can say, sorrow did this to me. 

This isn't self-worship, nor the puffing up of my own image.
This is a sacred witness to Christ in me, the hope of my glory. 
This my testament to what He has done in me.
That is the power in His name. 
Adonai Tsuri v'goali. The Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.
Adonai Roph'ekha. The Lord who heals you.
Adonai Mekaddishkhem. The Lord your sanctifier. 

 Taking everything meant to harm, to despair, to destroy and redeeming it. My life. This life. One gloriously enormous redemption delivered to me by Emmanuel. He, the One with me, in me, for me.
Trusting that He is taking the resounding throb of pain currently present in my life and fashioning it into an unfathomable well of joy. A means of grace. A path to glory. 

Some of the sorrows I have uniquely known...
They should have made me bitter. 
They should have made me fear.
They should have made me reject the ones who hurt me. 
They should have made me incapable of opening up the well of my heart to anyone. 
They should have made me distrusting. 
They should have made me rebellious for a longer season of life than I was. 
They should have made me more impatient, less willing to be long-suffering. 
They should have stripped me of the ability to love freely and unconditionally.
They should have made me curse my Maker. 

They didn't. They couldn't 
This is not to say that I have not been stuck in the mire of my own flesh at times. I sifted through the marshes of demanding anger, unrelenting unforgiveness, roaring pride, and arrogance. 
But when I lost myself, He found me. Love found me.

I have more to learn than seems realistic to learn in the short time of an average human lifespan. 
I have more to grow and mature than is possible for mere flesh. 
I have a longer path to tread than I dare to know. 
And, I am okay with it because I dare to risk trusting Him who brought me this far. 
I dare to risk believing that these sorrows and sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us [Rom 8:18]

In the words of a man who has been a conduit of grace to me [and to which I have had the immense pleasure of meeting and being discipled under]....

I can be sad, confused and bewildered. But I’ve never been that miserable [person] again. There is something about knowing for certain deep down, that God is absolutely delighted with your very being that changes everything.

You can’t speed up believing complete acceptance. You can’t speed up believing you’re adored. You can’t speed up believing you are righteous, that he lives in you, that you don’t need to become someone you think you’re supposed to be. You can’t speed up believing you’re not behind. You can’t speed up believing you’re enough and right on time. You can’t speed up believing you don’t have to add a thing. You can’t speed up letting go of trying to maintain your good Christian testimony. You can’t speed up not listening to shame voices prodding you into something short of obedience. You can’t speed up believing you can just relax and enjoy and love whatever God puts into front of you.

But as you begin…an entire way of seeing God’s very nature is uniquely time-released throughout your entire being. Everything is seen differently. Pain is still pain, glare is still glare. Loss is still gut-wrenching. But you are free. So you play differently. You dream differently. You love differently. You relax differently. You affirm. You bless. You receive. You love unbelievers instead of pitying them...or envying them. You begin to believe that the world will change not by desperately trying to fix it; but by loving it, enjoying it and being exactly who he made you to be in it.

This means my free association is sacred to God. My laughter and unhurried enjoyment is sacred. Giving dignity to my past is sacred. This means a horribly devastated world need not always devastate me. This means I need not always feel like I have to do more.

It means drawing closer to those who fail. It means allowing others to draw close to you when you fail. It is finding others and entering in with no fear of the consequences if the relationship doesn’t last. It means appealing to Christ in us to grow healthier instead of vigilantly prodding ourselves is a risk worth taking. It means risking love and willing to be naively fooled. It means giving up an agenda for other’s lives. It means convincing those you influence that there is no other shoe about to drop. It means believing we have new hearts and giving ourselves the benefit of the doubt for our motives. It means living as one needs to impress no one, and yet finds great joy in pleasing everyone. It means allowing Jesus to correct me, direct me, without hearing a voice of displeasure. It means daring something risky enough for God to come through. It means dreaming big and knowing he won’t try to teach you a lesson if you fall short.


  1. Beautiful—in many ways you've said what I've wanted to say but did not put into many words. I've found that my own personal sorrow tends to be sweeter, more innocent, than certain annoyances I've felt, especially since the lingering sadness can exist side by side with gratitude, as you say.

    Lately I've noticed I've been annoyed in petty ways with those close to me, and I don't mean them any harm, and feel regretful afterwards, wanting to begin the day again freshly. Hoping this will pass as my husband & I are still not settled in our house. Painting is taking longer than planned, and this in itself is stressful.

    I'm not going to try to find Grace, but pray that the Lord's Grace will meet me where I am now. To be able to laugh fully, genuinely as you described. And to be more passionate and compassionate about the things I do. You are in my prayers, E, God bless the wisdom you have.

    1. :) Glad my rambling words could resonate somehow with the words you've been wanting to say. I feel like sorrow is such a gift because of everything that it unearths from within us and how it teaches us. It makes me see the purpose through life's grievances.
      I am so sorry to hear of the stress with the new home, but I hope that you are finding rest and some joy through the tasks. I hope the painting is finished soon for you! I remember how exhausting painting can be and empathize with you.
      Thank you for your prayers and kind and encouraging words, Jade! :)

  2. God bless you... i like your blog!