Monday, February 15, 2016

are you a candle in someone's darkness?

"it is better to light one candle...than to curse the darkness." ~ motto for The Christophers

Does it ever seem as if you are the only one going through life's struggles? You look about you and everyone else is going about their lives. They work, they laugh, they make plans for next week or their next vacation and yet, here you are. Morose. Scared. Afraid to take a step, but take a step you must. You feel mired in cement. "How do they do that?" you ask yourself. "How can they live their life...don't they know how miserable I am? Don't they realize that I am "here"...they need to feel this with me!"

Sound familiar? Just this week, I know of a gal whose beloved father passed away, a nephew who lost his young life after a valiant battle and of a wife of more than forty three years who needs to make some painful decisions for her ailing husband, while her three sons realize that a life they came to depend on may soon be coming to an end. All these cases show that yes, for some, life does indeed keep rolling while for others, that proverbial door is closing on all they held dear. For some, it closes with a bang! and for others, with a silent whimper, but for all of them, the loss is just as palpable.

I can relate. This past week was the 20th anniversary of my younger sister's sudden passing. I remember as if it were yesterday, a day that was cold, but sunny. We had just left a very bitter cold snap behind us, so the 18 degree high felt balmy compared to what had been. I was looking forward to that night when we were to have dinner together as I had cancelled a night earlier in that week, all because of the cold. It was then that I was told of her sudden passing. I remember of how I couldn't breathe. "It couldn't be true," I thought, "it was someone else! After all, we had plans!"

I went through the following days in shock, going through motions of funeral planning, apartment cleaning (hers) and just trying to keep it together in front of my four young children. Then in the days after the funeral, when everyone else seemed to return to their  "normal" routines once more, there I was...still trying to accept what had happened. And yes, I felt the confusion, the feeling of "I am in this all alone and for the long run." It took me three long months to get over the hurt, the anger and bitterness and to deal with the loss and grief.

It is because of that time that I look at others around me in a different way. I know how they feel when they also think they are all alone. I try to say/do/feel for them...but it just doesn't seem enough. And I hear their cries of anguish as well. "Why am I all alone in this while all around me, life goes on?"

 "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast." 1 Peter 5:10

You are not alone. You are never alone. Even when you are going through a dark tunnel, God is there. Hang onto that thought, if nothing else.

And to those who feel helpless to do anything, just be that candle in someone's darkness. A candle loses nothing by being a light for someone, in fact, it gains so much value and worth. When someone you know is all alone, it may just be enough that you sit with them and hold them as they cry. Listen to them while they speak. Comfort them with your presence, which many say is more powerful than words could ever be.

Sometimes, being a hero doesn't involve putting on a cape. You only need to practice compassion.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4