Monday, April 18, 2011

Possibility of Happiness

Last week, a friend sent along an email with the message down below. It was one of those "perfect words...perfect timing...that is exactly what I need to hear... right now" moments. It was someone else articulating the words that I have been grasping for; emotions and feelings that I have not been able to formulate into words lately. 

I have constantly been trying to keep my focus on where who my happiness and hope comes from, all the while still having too many moments of feeling defeated, heavyhearted and frustrated. I bask in the moments of clarity when I feel God taking the weight of worry, anxiety and sadness from my arms. He alone carries my burdens for me and I finally feel like I can breathe...deeply. It is freeing. It is healing. I wish I could figure out how to remain in this state- all the time- because the alternative isn't always pretty. There are many other moments when I want to scream out in anger, put my fist through a wall and have a tantrum about how unfair it is that our son is gone. 

I do know that life is not about fair. I also know that when I take my eyes off of the One who is my hope, it is during these times that frustration, envy, bitterness, anger and constant sorrow have a chance to sneak in and take over. I am okay with the tears and longing for Aaron...they are normal and healing, but the bitterness and anger only eat away at my already broken heart. Quite frequently lately, God has had to redirect my vision and my heart to find hope again. I don't wake up every morning dreading the day, but I do wake up knowing that every day, for the rest of my life, I will  wake up to the reality that our son is not here. That will never change. As far as this life is concerned, it is permanent and relentless. The words below describe so perfectly this place where I have recently been. It's a place where, at times, hope and happiness are both tangible and very present, while other days are devoid of anything resembling these. I know that somewhere in my future they are there... 

Possibilities of Happiness
"I would imagine," a friend of mine said to me, sitting cross-legged on the floor, " that you're looking into the future and it's sort of yawning in front of you like a chasm from which there doesn't seem to be any exit."

(If my friend sounds like he's using too many ten-dollar words for him to sound believable, know that he's a British Professor of Education. Armed with that knowledge, let's move on.)

"You wake up every morning with the agonizing realization that there's no escaping it- you have to go through the entire day now. And when you lay down at night to cry, it's with the knowledge that you'll be doing all this again tomorrow, and the whole affair seems more than you're capable of dealing with."

And I just sat there nodding, because - yes - that was exactly what it was like.

I'd had people tell me it would get better, that they understood, and such. But here was someone articulating my experience much better than I'd been able. And, as he spoke, his voice cracked a bit.

"Nothing helps right now," he continued, "But as long as you're alive, there is some future in which you could, conceivably, be happy. No matter how unlikely is seems now, the possibility for happiness is there. I've despaired, wanted to just fall asleep and never wake up, thought for certain that I'd never be happy again - but I always have been."

I knew what he was talking about. He and his wife just adopted a three-year old boy, and sunshine seemed to follow this kid wherever he went. But I had seen the devastating losses and broken promises they'd endured - things that made my current circumstances look like an afternoon stroll. 

"But how can I hope?" I asked. "I feel like I've got nothing left."

"You don't have to," he said. "Hope doesn't come from you anyhow."

"Let all that I am quietly wait before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken" (Psalm 62:5-6).


  1. "hope doesn't come from you anyhow." so simple; so true. love you, friends.

  2. This is beautiful, Danielle. Absoultely beautiful- both your friend's e-mail and your own words. Love to you and thinking of you, your husband, and precious Aaron Matthew!

  3. Beautiful post. I am so glad that you have such a wise and good friend. I wish you peace and more possibilities of hope. Take care.

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