I wrote this post last year after a dark season of Lent. If you entered the Lenten season with a heavy heart, where fears and doubts consume your thoughts, know, sweet friend, that we are called to be a people of hope and light. God has promised us light and hope in our darkness. Mother Mary, take our hand and lead us out of any despair that stands in the way of God’s Grace.
It’s 3:00 a.m. Easter morning; another sleepless night. There’s no use in trying to go back to sleep so I make a cup of coffee. As I stumble to the couch, hands cupped around the warmth of my favorite mug, I settle in and close my eyes – aware of the silence surrounding me. The week has been a chaotic one, typical of my holy weeks over the years. However, I’m happy for the distractions this year because the silence reminds me of all the change in our lives.
As I stare out of the window, in the darkness of the evening sky, a star captures my attention. It fascinates me as it appears, then disappears, then re-appears again a little lower in the sky. My eyes couldn’t help but follow its movement. This fascination lasts for quite some time and breaks the constant thoughts that want to occupy space in my head. The thoughts win and I’m overcome with the sense of loss that seems to have become the theme song in my life. Permanent loss of those who have passed, loss of a household filled with the chatter of children, loss of family life as we once knew it, and in some sense, a loss of purpose. I know there is much to be thankful for, but in this darkness, I seem to be stuck.
A failed Lent?
This Lent didn’t go as planned. It was a series of failed attempts to draw closer to God through spiritual reading, prayer, and fasting. It was a whirlwind of activity where my role as wife, mother, and caregiver took center stage. I couldn’t focus on anything but the task before me and simply asked God for the grace and patience to get through the day ahead (sometimes even the hour ahead). By Holy Thursday, I was feeling no peace and blaming myself for the endless chaos that surrounded me. I resigned myself to getting up early Friday morning, attending Tenebrae, then simply coming home to begin preparation for our Easter Sunday meal when my parents and children would all be there, surrounding my table. After Tenebrae, on my way back home, I received a call from my son. His voice was shaking as he shared another round of devastating news – his childhood friend and classmate had taken his life the night before. Darkness.
My mind cannot wrap itself around the pain his family now bears. A pain that on the very night that we commemorate how Mary helplessly endured the ordeal her only Son was about to go through. The pain and anguish as they walk their own Via Dolorosa. It is times like these where words cannot always comfort and we need only to lean into Christ and ask Him to carry us through. Allowing the overwhelming ache and heaviness of sorrow to fall into the arms of Christ.
I glance back out the window, the morning light begins to break through the darkness and the star’s light begins to disappear. And so it is with the darkness, God seems to say…it is temporary. And even when the darkness permeates the moment, He reminds me He’s always there.
This early morning pondering turned my focus back to what today was about – coming out of the darkness of the tomb and into the light. Asking God to roll away the stones that I’ve allowed to bury me; those of worry and doubt, unforgiveness and hurt, pain and rejection, failed expectations and despair. Recognizing this deep, dark place where only God meets us. Understanding that He never forgets us, He guides us out of the darkness to a place of hope.
“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth” ~ Isaiah 42:16
However darkness is manifesting itself in your life – there is hope in our Saviour.