This is the weirdest week—there is all at once so much hope permeating the new breath of this new year, while also runs through our experience of this transition a rather heavy sense of some kind of dread and overwhelm.
For as much as this week is filled with excitement about all the things this unknown year may hold, it is filled, too, with the realization that many things must stay behind in the last year. There is a thick sense of loss that is prone to be spread across the new. The sense of having a whole new year where they are not in your lives, where the home is no longer here, where the person once thought to be forever will not see the changing calendar with you.
There is great strangeness in the changing of the years for change is always rather strange, and it tends to draw out all the best, and all the worst, things inside of us.
We dream up benchmarks and ideals for ourselves while the unsettling of our spirit implores us to grieve the gone and all-to-often misremembered.
We attempt to forget everything remotely, not just negative, but inconvenient or frustrating, believing that we must to continue in any productive manner. But why must we try so hard to leave everything behind? Do not misunderstand, I am not promoting the carrying on of hatred, anger, regret, loneliness, fear, or anything of the sort, but why must we so quickly cast aside the seasons where we have walked through such trials?
If we are to learn and move on in any kind of healthy way, we must process and even appreciate all those times when the feelings were not good, and the hope was all but gone from those moments.
In becoming so consumed with “creating ourselves” in the “best way”, we have neglected to remember that the only way to be created into our best selves requires pain.
For a diamond is not made without the seemingly unceasing cutting off of edges everywhere.
For a cloth is not woven into something wearable without being stabbed through repeatedly with the business end of a needle.
For a sword is not forged without fire.
Neither is a warrior created without battle, and you, my dear, you are a warrior rising through the ranks—becoming more mature and walking more deeply into the service of a Good King with every cut, break, and bend.
For then light is perfectly refracted.
For then a beautiful wearer dons good clothing.
For then the battle can be well navigated.
We do not conquer anything in our own lives or change the world by dodging at the things that have scared, scarred, and stained us before—we conquer by allowing the pain to come in, in all its unpleasantries and undesirability, and allow God to take the pain, with us, on a journey into a much more Love-like version of ourselves. Pain does hurt, yes, but one day all the pain will leave—the anguish will cease, and we will be Like Christ.
But there must be pain to become Like Him.
Afterall, there is no salvation without pain. There is no cross. There is no Love. There is no Joy.
For we feel pain, and pain gives us understanding for what it is to feel Everything Good.
Healing only walks into our lives when we open the doorway to pain. Pain and suffering come hand-in-hand with healing—for pain refines and healing redefines.
I used this same quote in another piece of writing from just a couple weeks ago, but it is too fitting to not include it here also:
“But suppose that what you are up against is a surgeon whose intentions are wholly good. The kinder and more conscientious he is, the more inexorably he will go on cutting. If he yielded to your entreaties, if he stopped before the operation was complete, all the pain up to that point would have been useless.” (C.S. Lewis)
We serve a God who is far from afraid of allowing us to walk through pain—His vision of Time, Eternity, and Our Whole Selves is far and away from what we may ever ourselves begin to imagine.
So please, I implore you, embrace the things that hurt because the healing always comes when we allow God to walk us through our most painful experiences.
You are so loved, and sometimes (a lot of the time, actually) it is too much. But only for us.
For it is never too much for Him. And His yolk is easy, and His burden is light.
Praise be to God for His faithful hand over all of our pain and healing.