“The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.” ~ Psalm 34:17
“He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” ~ Psalm 147:3
Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak
Whispers the o’er-fraught heart, and bids it break.
~ William Shakespeare, Macbeth
Shortly after my son was born, approximately six months after my husband died, I wrote the following poem. I was still in the fog of grief, combined with the sleep deprivation that comes along with a newborn. Looking back, I’m actually surprised that I didn’t just sob all day long. And while my skills at poetry are woefully limited (to be kind), this really expresses where I was in that moment.
I’m trying a new chicken recipe for dinner tonight
The directions say that it should server six
If you were here, I’d tell you
That means there should be leftovers
At least enough for your lunch
The recipe seems simple enough
But for some reason ten minutes of prep
Has turned into thirty
The dog next door keeps barking
And our sweet little baby won’t stop crying
I have a feeling that this dish might be salty in spots
Matching the wet paths down my face
Right now if things were normal
You’d be walking through the door
The house would cease this eerie stillness
And somehow be less dark
Don’t worry, I’d tell you
I didn’t put your knives in the dishwasher
You’d go about doing
All those little things I took for granted
And I could breathe again
Just so you know, dinner will be ready at seven
If there’s none left for tomorrow
I promise not to care
The reason I chose to share this today is because it popped into my head while I was making dinner, along with the unbidden thought, “What a difference a year can make!”
Tonight I was making another new recipe for dinner, but the house was full of cheerful sounds, with Norah Jones playing on the stereo and my little boy giggling hysterically as he jumped around the family room with his uncle, who had stopped by to see him. Preparing dinner no longer seemed like the insurmountable chore that it had last January.
However, I am thankful for the grieving I did for so long after my husband’s passing. The writing, the crying, the praying – all of it gave words to what my heart was going through. God heard my prayers and, little by little, healed me of the significant pain I was in. That isn’t to say I’m not still sadden by his death, but I can see how God has brought joy and hope back into my life. Shakespeare, whether you believe he was a God-fearing man or not, gave us great insight into how to deal with grief in the quote I included today from Macbeth. We cannot be afraid to give words to our grief, to pour out our sorrows to God. How else will He have a chance to heal us?
If you are facing something in your life right now that breaks your heart and causes you sorrow, cry out to the Lord and give it to Him. He will heal you, just as He promised to.