Beauty Instead of Ashes, Joy Instead of Tears

I haven't written for a few days, not because I don't have anything to say, but because how do you follow on something like Heidi Swapp's beautiful and exquisitely sad post about her sweet son Cory? What else could there ever be to say that measures to this? How will any of us be able to see through our tears in our sorrow for one amazing family and one very, very lonely young dude? 

I've cried a lot the past couple of weeks. I ugly-cried at church so hard the past 2 weeks I had to come home. For two weeks in a row. I blame all the Jesus and Eternal Hope songs - not in anger, but in gratitude for God's plan - that we are all born into families for a reason, and that those families still exist in eternity. Doesn't make it hurt any less when one of them leaves the circle for awhile, though. My whole soul hurts for my soul sister. She is, all I can say, immensely strong. She's baffled and heartbroken and struggling, and still staunch and faithful and hilarious and I will love and admire her grace for as long as I live

She's a woman of sincere humility and faith who desperately feels the Cory-shaped hole in her heart, but knows with that same unshakeable faith that he'll always be hers, that he's waiting for her, and that someday - maybe not for a long time - she'll get some understanding of his pain. Maybe of WHAT the level of hidden pain he was in, and WHY. Oh, the why - why does this have to be an earthly affliction at all? It's truly low and dirty play.

And yet again, I myself find it terrifyingly easy to imagine the WHAT, although nobody can ever know the pain in those secret silent places in a heart and mind. I've blogged about my own struggle with depression. And so my heart breaks twice, once for each of them.

Here's my hope, and, after talking with her, Heidi's hope too:

Let there not be stigma about depression. Let there not be blame, or shame, or that old tired yawn about how it's only in our heads, and the whole pick yourself up and walk-it-off nonsense that never got anybody anywhere and instead kills thousands of people a year. Depression is a monster that eats you heart and soul, bite by bite. Plays to your weaknesses and sadness and hopelessness until one day you start to believe the devil's lie: That they'd be better off without you. 

I'm now on both sides of that equation. I've thought it. And now I experience (in my small heartbroken way, only feeling for HER unimaginable pain) the nuclear-bomb devastation left in the wake of a suicide. And one thing I know for certain-sure: 


But here is the bitter and heartbreaking truth: sometimes therapy and meds and our best vigilance are not enough. Sometimes to our beautiful friend or son or family member, whose hope is in ashes and whose future seems too dark to imagine, there is only one option left. Please, let us not blame them. Let us also never blame or question the action of parents or children or siblings or or others that they leave behind. They certainly have enough self-doubt and private, questioning anguish to be getting on with. 

So we can mourn with those that mourn, and when our own questions begin to turn to 'how COULD he/she/they, WHY did or didn't he/she/they, we can shut up about it. Because we will never know and it isn't ours to know anyway. We grieve. We condole with them. We cry our ugly-cry for the earthly life that so often hurts like a motherbear and leaves us all reeling in pain. And we can kneel in the midst of that sorrow and thank God for the opportunity to come here anyway. That He's there with His hand in ours through it all - not to take it away, but to help us live through it and come out more faithful, better, stronger in the end. That's what Heidi, my sweet and grief-stricken and immensely faithful friend, is doing. Maybe tonight you can kneel a little longer in grief for her and her family, and for all the earthly pain everywhere. And then maybe kneel a little longer still in gratitude for the peace that only Heaven can bring as it lingers close.