The wind has a chill edge, but first-day-of-spring sun warms my hair with the promise of balmier days to come. I start with a spring in my step but find my heavy heart slows me down. I will myself to look, to listen, but the woods seem strangely silent...or perhaps I simply cannot hear the ubiquitous bird symphony. Phrases from another melody weave in and out of my consciousness, distracting me, until I pause to pull each line from a faded
Leaving me none the wiser, with all she had to say.
And I walked a mile with Sorrow, never a word said she;
But oh the things I learned from her, when Sorrow walked with me.
Poem by Robert Browning Hamilton used as chorus in
Song lyrics by Barry Mann
Sung by Barry McGuire
But not all the mess is manmade. The winter has been harsh; heavy snowfall, strong, wild wind, and thick ice have culled weaker trees into a tangle of twisted branches and splintered bark. There is nothing lovely in the chaos that surrounded me, but I cannot escape it, cannot outrun its ugliness or my pain. Outrun? Suddenly I am done running, I can barely walk.
"Grief is the awakening to the realization that it won't be the same again."
Recently I'd jotted this quote from an unknown source in my little green "external memory file" notebook. I know that it is true. "It won't be the same again." Not the woods, not my life. Not my friends lives, nor my mother's. I sit and sob. I groan. The woods are no longer silent. I fill them with my tune-less lament. I wail out my grief for all that is hard in my life, in the lives of those I love. One is trying to figure out how to say goodbye to her cancer-filled friend, another wonders about her marriage. I wonder about my mother, and I grieve the good-old-days of taking boys to a Grandma's house, near or far, for a visit, a banana, a game of Old Maid. I grieve for one who is losing her father and can't find her children's hearts. One sweet friend's marriage is broken beyond repair, another watches her beloved approach the valley of the Shadow. I pour out my sorrow over my parenting failures, the agony of this hardest of all tasks I have ever undertaken or been given, decoding Youngest Mystery. I cannot find words for all that I feel, the pain is raw and deep. I moan.
And God shows up. He listens. His gift is His Presence. We've been here before, not this rock, but this place. I am welcome here. I, not understanding, am understood. And I am deeply loved. I remember some more of the lyrics...
blessed are you when you trust, when you just can’t understand.”