Illuminating Memories

I have been struggling with very heavy thoughts today. I don’t like these heavy thoughts — they cluster together like little water droplets, forming a storm cloud that eventually makes me burst into a torrent of tears. Memories flash into my mind like lightening in the night and grief thunders through my soul. The experience is terrifying. It leaves me disoriented and afraid because have you seen how lightning illuminates the darkness? One flash reveals ghostly shadows and ethereal surfaces, shaky images and stormy uncontrolled movement. It is unsettling, destructive, chaotic. There is no comfort in its light, no warmth: only illumination of dark forgotten places in the night. I feel exposed and vulnerable in its light, waiting for painful memories to illuminate all around me and then disappear, leaving me to despair of finding any way to make sense of what I’ve seen. I shudder, feeling every bolt of memory pierce my emotional atmosphere and leave a heart splitting crack of grief in its wake.

Darkness, chaotic light, sorrow, grief, tears — that’s how these heavy thoughts manifest inside me. And, believe it or not, that manifestation is growth; healing in fact. Why? Because these flashes of memory illuminate deep pains that I have never wept over — they illuminate the deserted regions of my heart that need to be watered with the tears of sorrow to heal and produce life again. They illuminate my need for Jesus in the midst of my internal drought and storm. They illuminate why my God hates evil so much and the excruciating pain it causes. And, ultimately, they illuminate the heart of Christ because one day he will wipe away every tear and sweep away every sorrow. Evil, and the pain it causes, will be no more. One day.

But until that day, I will rejoice in the restrained healing he has chosen to bring me in this life — through family, through friends, through therapy, through medication, through weeping, through joy, through the beauty of creation. I have made peace with the fact that I will never be fully healed in this life. But each day I grow closer to restoration and redemption — body, mind, and soul.