“I find that for every truth that is difficult and tragic, there is one that is helpful and gives hope.”
My niece said that, and I think it’s rather profound. Although it may apply to other things, it resonates with me on a particular note. I’ve been struggling with how to write about the link between fear and hope, and now I know what to say.
“What if….” Fear makes it difficult to talk about the “what if’s, as if talking about it is some sort of jinx that might bring it to pass. But, there are some important things to know about “difficult and tragic truths,” and if we never talk about it, we’ll never be able to get to the truth that is “helpful and gives hope.”
One “difficult and tragic truth” is that we can send our kids off to school in the morning, or we go to see a movie, or we’re driving in our cars just like every other day, and then one day, it’s suddenly not like every other day, and our lives are changed forever. It’s scary, don’t you think? I, and many other people, know how life can change suddenly, out of the blue, with no warning. We hear stories of tragedies in the news all the time. We hope it never happens to us, but we’re afraid, because it could.
We don’t know what to do with that reality. We don’t know how to deal with it. And, we don’t have answers, which adds to the scariness of it. I know, because I’ve had to grapple with these issues on a personal level. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but my niece sure hit the nail on the head with her statement, especially the second part. “For every truth that is difficult and tragic, there is one that is helpful and gives hope.”
Here’s what I do know. The worst thing I can imagine happened the day my daughter died. I don’t like what happened!!! I’d give anything to turn back the clock and make it not happen if I could!!! But, since that’s not possible, I choose the next best thing. I choose hope.
The truth that is helpful and gives hope is that God loves and cares about us. He feels our sorrow. He comforts us in ways we never would have thought possible. He gives strength in our weariness. He lights our darkness. He’s with us in the midst of it, holding us close in his arms of love.
Oh, the pain of those first few days after my daughter died! The early weeks and months afterwards, how unbearable it seemed! I’ve rarely admitted this, except to my closest friends, but I honestly didn’t know if I wanted to live. I didn’t want to say that out loud. I didn’t want to speak my darkest thoughts, because I didn’t know where they’d lead, and I didn’t want to validate them. It’s in my journal-writing, though. I speak of it now to say, even in my darkest moments, God was with me, and He brought me through it.
“The truth that is helpful and gives hope” is that there is hope! It’s true that life will never be the same. It’s true that I will always miss her, and there will be sadness attached to that. But, it’s also true that life is still worth living. Life is still good. These past few months, especially, I’ve struggled in my search for new purpose. The hope-filled good news is that there still is purpose.
As I’m writing this, I’m again amazed by how accurate my niece’s statement is, but I’m realizing something more. The two truths are not balanced on a scale. There’s not “a truth that is difficult and tragic” on one side of the scale, and “a truth that is helpful and gives hope” on the other side of scale, and they balance each other out. No, actually, “the truth that is helpful and gives hope” far, far, far outweighs the other.
Thanks, LaVonne, for your insight!
Sara Faith Nelson
Sharing the journey, because, I find there are so many others making the trek through life without a loved one