I have subconsciously embedded the year mark as an important milestone in my mind. So as the months pass I feel like maybe I'm one step closer to a united heart and mind. Until now I have viewed these months of grief like they are the excruciating nipple-bleeding miles of a marathon, painful and challenging, but finite. But on the 29th, as I typed "seven months," my perspective changed, as it often does. I realized that I do not really know or comprehend the true distance of the course I am following; there is no clear finish. Instead I find myself in a state of endurance, a quality which has never been my strong suit. I seem better suited to short bursts of effort, followed by a nap. To endure with no promise of quick or timely relief is new territory for me, but seems to me the true nature of grief.
The things we are asked to endure in this life rarely have a definite end. We each struggle to move forward through our personal struggles with addiction, illness, depression, failed marriages, wayward children, disappointment, pain, and loss. We long for the promise of pain being lifted, and challenges being removed; a finish line. But I have come to understand this month that what I have really been promised is strength to endure.
In the New Testament Christ taught:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11: 28-30
We are not always promised that pain will be removed, but that our burdens will be jointly carried. Our rest does not come from stopping, but from sharing our load. In my weakest moments I feel the truth of that scripture.
I can no longer view the months that pass as a countdown; I view them as a measure of my strength; they are the measure of a distance traveled. They show me that I have endured seven months of heartache and grief, and I am still moving. I have endured great pain and loss, and yet I am still able to love. The passing months are tally marks, but not on a prison wall. They are marks on my soul. They are evidence to me of my new-found ability to endure.