"Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark." —Rabindranath Tagore
These days, I find myself growing tired (even more quickly than usual) of things that don't feel significant enough to warrant my emotional energy or time. People are getting up in arms about their kid not cleaning his or her room or running 10 minutes late for a meeting or temporarily misplacing their phone. And all I'm thinking is that a little girl has died and two parents are shell-shocked and grief-stricken and what else even matters now?
I don't really have an answer for that question, because, to them, nothing else really does. Their lives have been irrevocably changed and there is nothing I—or anyone else—can do to change reality. It is beyond heartbreaking, beyond unimaginable, beyond any words that do any shred of justice to the magnitude of this situation. And I know it happens every day to countless people, but these are people I care about, so yeah, it's hitting home to me in a way that it hasn't before. Tragedy is all around, but right now, it's sitting with me in my bed and at my dining room table, and it's on my friends' front doorstep, behind every cabinet door, around every corner inside every room. It has flooded their lives and there is no Red Cross effort that can sweep in and save them from this pain.
In moments like these, many turn to God, either to seek comfort or to vent their anger—or both. For me, it isn't so much a turning toward as a redirection of prayer and conversation. He is ever present and very much close to me in times of brokenness (and joy), but not everyone feels this way.
If I'm being honest, I have known despair the likes of which I cannot describe. I have walked through that shadowy valley and was convinced for many years that I would never emerge. I'm not trying to be dramatic. This shit is real. Depression and the crushing pain of grief and trauma can surround your every movement and suck the life and very breath out of you (even in a metaphorical sense). And even in my darkest hour, even when I felt I had no hope and no reason for existing, I still felt a nudge, a gentle urge to try one more day, one more minute. In the face of hopelessness, with little to no evidence that things would ever get better, some part of my soul knew that the sun would, indeed, rise again.
God is a million things, all at once, every day. He is the reminder that we are never truly alone, the quiet voice in your head telling you to trust your gut, the provider of peace when all around is strife, the warmth and squeeze in a friend's hug, the faithfulness and kindness of strangers, the beauty of trees in a forest, the majesty of the ocean, the joy in a baby's laugh. I have him to thank for everything I am and all that I've been able to do. Yes, I put in the work, but he gave me the assurance that, even when I couldn't see a way forward, I would be protected and provided for along my journey.
In this time of darkness and deep sadness, I pray that my friends would find His light inside themselves...that they would know the peace that transcends every earthly hurt and find some relief for their suffering. I pray that the wave of holy, divine love that is rushing to meet them at every turn (through the kindness of so many friends, known and unknown) would overwhelm their pain and bring sweetness and comfort to allow them to rest and gain strength for the long road ahead.
And in my own grief, I, too, am like that bird singing in anticipation of the light. I don't know how it will come—or when—but my heart believes that the dawn will indeed break again. Even a tiny bit of faith right now is enough.