Day 14: The co-existence of hope and pain

I saw him. He looked dishevelled and exhausted. I thought I was going to be sick. He didn’t see us. We went into the store and straight away I ran to the bathroom. I sobbed in the cubicle and got out my phone. I knew he was alone. I just wanted to speak with him. It had been more than two months and I missed him so badly.

Instead I phoned a friend. My hands were shaking as I pressed her number. I stood leaning against a display cabinet crying as she told me to put the phone away and go find my husband. After some minutes I did. We did our shopping and went home. Later that afternoon I dropped one of my children at a party and had to pull the car over to the side because the sobbing came. Deep, wracking, breath stealing sobs. They came from somewhere deep, deep inside. I heard my pain as it came out from within me. I didn’t know how I was even still living with that grief and brokeness. I phoned my brother and could barely get the words out. I’m not even sure there were words – just noises. Eventually things subsided enough for me to drive home.

I tell you of that episode because I think it matters for you to know that even though the Hope was there and God was making Himself known to me, I was really, really struggling. I didn’t want to be in my marriage. I was grieving the loss of the other. I didn’t know who I was or who I should be. I was no longer planning suicide but some days the thoughts were still black. The Hope didn’t remove the pain. I’m not sure that it even dulled it. But I found the two could co-exist.

I got a piercing. The piercing was a challenge and a marker. It was a challenge to my husband – can you really love me as I am? As I REALLY am? Even if I don’t conform to your expectations? It was a sign to myself that even without the other I could go on living. He had enabled me to be more fully myself and every time I saw my piercing I would be reminded that I could still grow and become more myself without him.

I was told that the piercing would take twelve weeks to heal, and I wondered if my emotional piercings would be healed by then too?

It was around that time that I saw an online Lent course advertised on Twitter. It was called Be, and the idea was to take time in the run up to Easter to find creative space to Be. I wasn’t going to church and I desperately missed christian community so I thought perhaps I should sign up. Offered as a 2 for 1 deal was a writing course as well. It made no sense for me to take on extra things at that time – it seemed a disastrous choice to make. And yet, I felt drawn towards the sign up. Late one night I filled in the paypal details and committed to the courses.

I had no idea that the women I would meet on the courses were the people I needed to walk alongside through the next months. God did.

Lights in the darkness.


29 thoughts on “Day 14: The co-existence of hope and pain

  1. Your story is riveting. You make me feel everything you’re feeling. I can totally see you developing this into a book. And, bless you for being so transparent…I believe you’re helping more people than you know with this.


  2. Another powerful post! God led you to the right place at the right time. God has a funny way of showing us that doesn’t he? “Be still and know that I am God!” That is so much easier said than done though. I can hear in your words how you were trying to figure out who you were…longing to know what that next step was…in your journey. I will pray for you and this journey you are on.


  3. I’ve walked so closely to the path that you’ve walked. I hold my breath when I read your posts because I KNOW I’m going to feel some of those old feelings again and I do. And then I also feel the hope and the strength and the courage that got me from there to here — the Lord who ministered and healed — and I feel yours as well. I feel like you’re someone I’ve known a lifetime. THAT, my friend, is the mark of a phenomenal writer.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing your heart and for being so open. I have no doubt that your writings will touch someone else and help them to start their healing journey even if hope and despair have to co-exist!!!!


  5. This is such a powerful post and so brave – so needed! Thank you for pressing on! Praying for you as you go back in time to write from the real and raw places! Praying His Grace covers you and draws you back to the Here and Now and you see His hand ever so clearly holding your own!


  6. Beautiful! Yes, pain and hope can coexist. I wrote a book about it that was published in July. It is called Nothing to Hold but Hope. In my darkest moments of pain, hope was all I had. Love this post! Keep writing, friend!


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