So many hard things in this world. I have had the honor lately of getting to know people who are running some of the toughest courses I have ever seen laid out for any individual or family. Illness and loss have drastically reshaped their existence for a number of years, and short of miraculous healing, will shape their future. I grieve. They grieve. And yet, I find myself longing to be near them. Their raw honesty and hard-won wisdom call out truth. No one holds your gaze and communicates peace like someone who has been through a fire but whose spirit has not died in the blaze. They’re like Daniels, I suppose. And we need them. Indeed, they need us to intercede and enter into their suffering, but we may very well need them as much or more than they need us.
Find one who has suffered long
And suffered much.
Seek out one who still asks hard questions
But is willing to wait for answers.
When you come upon one of these precious souls,
You can’t help but note a bit of weathered-ness,
Since hard seasons have come and gone, leaving their mark.
But just as in the natural world,
Fire, wind, and water
Leave remarkable features
That stand as monuments
To the grandeur of existence.
So these noble souls’ faces
Give you cause to pause and ponder.
Indeed, if you really look and you really listen
To one who has sailed stormy seas,
You will see something altogether other-worldly
In the depths of their eyes-
A tranquility that rivals the Pacific on a quiet day.
No naive, untried beauty, this.
Winsomeness radiates from deep within these souls.
Patience, that has solidified into spirit-deep stamina,
Comes to those who navigate danger-filled passages
And refuse to abandon ship when
anger and disappointment threaten and sulk.
These who have sailed troubled waters
Have healing words in them,
And we do well to listen.
With a question-leaning lilt to their speech,
They whisper wisdom without
Pontificating long and loud with highbrow philosophies
Nor condescending with trite responses that
Pat you on the head and send you on your way.
No, these battle-softened warriors
Speak quietly of hard surrender
And upended plans,
Of open hands that do not grasp,
But embrace this moment’s gift.
Of humility that wrestles to release rights and requirements,
That they may have room to meet another’s need.
Look into the eyes of
One who has suffered hard,
Listen to one who has suffered long,
But is not crushed.
Perhaps this is as close to looking
Into the eyes of God,
As we will experience
This side of heaven.
Matthew 5:1-16 … A passage that seems to describe the sort of person I am writing about today. May God allow any and all of us to be this sort of light. It’s only by His grace, indeed.
kpeterson April 19, 2013