Monday, January 13, 2014

Beyond the Dark

It's interesting how one's outlook changes through the years. There was a time when I thought our family was perfectly "normal" - no divorce, addictions, mental issues, different sexual identities, illegal doings.... The few of these things that did exist were not in our immediate family and were never talked about.

Only on rare occasions did I overhear adults speaking in hushed tones about such things; therefore, I thought they were practically non-existent. Little did I know...

They say that ignorance is bliss, but is it really? Children look to the adults in their lives to show them how to deal with life and all that it throws at one. Not acknowledging nor talking about problems is really not dealing with them at all and is of no help to those around us who care.
For when it finally becomes your turn to deal with something "unthinkable" - and your turn will come, I assure you - you will probably have no idea how to do that. Of course no one deals perfectly with the bumps in life's road, but even admitting the hurt, frustrations, and feelings of loss and inadequacy is better than silence. We are all imperfect beings, and helping each other through the rough times is of immeasurable value.
I now know that our extended family is a mixed bag, made up of individuals who struggle with all kinds of issues. As a group, we have experienced estrangement, separation, divorce, addiction, depression, personality disorders, mental illness, homosexuality, dementia, prison time, joblessness and homelessness...  For we are, after all, a part of the human family. If you have not had to deal with any of these things, you are indeed fortunate. Going through, or helping someone else get through, rough times can either steel and embitter us OR make us more compassionate. The choice is ours.
In this season of darkness, many are hurting. Family, financial, physical and mental problems weigh even heavier on those afflicted amidst the bright lights, hustle, bustle and good cheer that others seem to enjoy. With today a blur and the future unimaginable, many see little hope, if any. Those of us who are able try to offer some measure of help with encouragement, shelter, food, employment, money, and gifts, but often the need runs deeper still. And so we simply BE THERE - in thought, prayer, service, and person. God fulfills His promises through us - lest we forget:

There is a light out there somewhere
far away, flickering on and off
in the distance.
Small and wavering,
seemingly unreachable,
it casts a small glow
into the darkness.
I have no idea how to reach it
nor even how to begin
to wander in its direction,
for my heart is numb
and my feet are leaden.
Often I cannot see it,
yet I know it is there.
Silent within the tumult,
it beckons me still,
for I feel its faint echo
somewhere deep within
longing for its warmth
and aching for its comfort,
yet lost and alone
Somehow it nourishes,
sustains me to a degree,
while taunting and urging
to face in its direction,
take that first small, faltering step
even as I teeter on the brink
of all that is feared and unknown.
All around is darkness -
cold, and comforting in its way.
But I am not a child of darkness;
I do not dwell here willingly.
Somehow I must pass through,
come out on the other side
into the warmth and light.
I cannot ask, but you must know -
Reach out and touch me,
though I am stiff and ice-cold.
We will hold hands and walk
through the misery together
toward that flickering light
that offers a ray of HOPE.
 There is surely a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.  
Proverbs 23:18
...we who have fled to take hold of the hope
offered to us
may be greatly encouraged.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul,
firm and secure.    
Hebrews 6:18-19

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