|ARGH! It is TILTING!|
But the past few weeks have been tough for me. Freed from the daily burden of the caregiving role that defined my life for twelve years, I've had time to process the sorrow of watching my mother fade from view over time. Grief of this caliber is not unusual, and I ought not be surprised (see 1 Peter 4:12). What has puzzled me, though, is the intensity of sorrow I've been feeling over a number of other painful memories from the past, the distant past, when I was young. Yes, a very long time ago.
This is a phenomenon I've seen happen in others who are going through a grief process. It's as though a new heartache opens a Pandora's box of grievous memories from the past that all come flowing out to surround us. Thus it seems life is sad now, has always been sad, and there is no hope of ever being free of sorrow again. This morning I prayed the Psalms, and felt a terrible weight of former sorrows, present sorrow, and the inevitability of future sorrow. I asked the Lord to give me a word of hope, but left my prayer time still feeling puzzled and sad.
A few hours later, I was driving along down that familiar dirt road past the wind farm, when I looked up from the bottom of a hill and saw one of those gigantic wind generators looming over me, wings not turning. It was perfectly still while all of its comrades were turning at normal speed, and this seemed weirdly ominous. The one wing that stretched toward the ground, looked, by a trick of perspective, unnaturally large and as though it was nearly touching the treetops. And...was the tower tilting? I had to drive past this thing, just a couple hundred feet away, and the tower portion alone stretches over 300 feet into the sky. If it tipped over, I could be squashed like a bug! I actually felt physical symptoms of fear, something that has not happened to me for many years as a response to my phobia of great big manmade things. But I ignored my pounding heart, refused to make a U-turn, and kept right on driving.
As I topped the hill it was as though the tower straightened, that drooping wing shrank to an appropriate distance from the ground, and although the watchful stillness of the massive machine still seemed unnerving, it no longer looked unnaturally tilted.
As I sped on down the road, I felt chagrined and said aloud, "Lord, what was that all about?"
The answer was immediate: "Your perspective is off."
And I understood that my perspective of past injuries is unnaturally exaggerated right now. It may seem odd that this is a vast relief. Not that I like being "a little off"--(although my children will tell you that I've had a lot of practice at it)--but if things aren't so bad as they seem, I can be released from hopelessness. I don't have to take action to right past wrongs (that's in the Lord's hands anyway), and I don't have to give up the hope of feeling better at some point.
As Abraham Lincoln wrote to a young woman whose father had died:
"Perfect relief is not possible, except with time. You can not now realize that you will ever feel better. Is not this so? And yet it is a mistake. You are sure to be happy again. To know this, which is certainly true, will make you some less miserable now. I have had experience enough to know what I say; and you need only to believe it, to feel better at once."I tell you what though, tomorrow I'm taking the highway home. 😅