sometimes i’m not sure what to do with all of the sadness in the world so i just sort of tuck it into the envelope of my heart, all stuffed and overflowing with people’s letters of cancer and child-loss and pain. and i know i’m supposed to mail those letters to God, and i send parts of them, but parts i hold onto. the parts i can’t let go of. the parts that say, if God is so good, and caring and loving, then why?
and i’m not afraid of my questions. i know God is bigger and i know in heaven they’ll either be answered or we just won’t care anymore. kind of like when you’re so hungry you’ll eat anything, just because it fills the hole. i think there’s a lot of pain in the world to make us hunger for heaven, and i know it will be wonderful but i know, too, that while i’m afraid of death, and scared of eternity, heaven will be just as it sounds. paradise.
because there will be no more tears and i wonder where God puts all of our sadness. all of those letters we finally let go of. does he read them, and weep too, like Jesus wept over Jerusalem? does he put them in a special folder marked “unanswered” or does he send angels to tend to those people, immediately?
i had an art show this weekend and i spent some time walking whyte ave, beforehand. one of the hippest, most achingly honest streets in the city of edmonton, and i could barely swallow for the need. i met a man named Jerry Lee who wanted a smoke, and i said i’d buy him a sandwich, and instead he wanted a coffee and some Reeces Pieces so i bought him that. then i said “God loves you,” and he said God lived in his heart and could he pray for me? yes, Jerry Lee, of course you can pray for me.
then i bought fair-trade coffee at Ten Thousand Villages and learned how little children are hired overseas to make rugs from dawn to dusk at unfair wages because their tiny fingers can sew the stitches.
then on my way back to the car i ran into a boy who had my aiden’s eyes, like he’d stolen them off his face, and he wore a long white t-shirt and jeans that hung low and he looked so wasted, so lost, so alone. like even his skin, which was ashen, had given up. i cried my way back to the car and found myself angry at the people who seemed not to see, their neighbors who had God in their hearts and hell on their faces.
and sometimes, even on the brightest, sunniest day, surrounded by my boys in a backyard eating a picnic, all i know is this:
so long as we have Jesus in us we have sorrow. happiness is overrated. i am rarely happy. there is too much pain in the world to be happy. i am shooting for joy, because joy is something i can understand. joy is like a raft on an ocean of tears and i’m sitting on that raft and paddling and picking up all of the people who are drowning. and we’re all huddling together on this tiny raft, in this massive ocean, waiting for some kind of shore to appear.
“you’re going to be in deep mourning while the godless world throws a party. you’ll be sad, very sad, but your sadness will develop into gladness.” (Jesus, John 16, The Message)
(ps. we just learned of neighbors who lost a baby girl at 3.5 months old, with no warning; please pray for them. thank you.)