I was driving down the road a few days ago, not aware that I was thinking about much of anything… and my eyes welled up with tears. A minute later, they were streaming down my cheeks. And before I knew it, mournful sobs began pouring out of a heart that had finally been overwhelmed by grief.
How could I have been so oblivious to so much sadness?
It’s taken me days to make sense of that question. The process of wrestling with it has been painful, but invaluable. I’ve learned a lesson – and it may help you, too. That’s my hope.
So, here’s the story…
Years ago, the heartache of circling back to family members — who’d rejoiced at the news of a twin pregnancy – to tell them we’d lost first one, and then both babies, was almost unbearable. We decided: Never again. All subsequent efforts to conceive and carry a baby to term would be in secret.
It was a choice made out of fearful self-protection, rooted in the belief that lightning had struck twice – and it could very well strike again. We couldn’t bear the thought of an audience to more despair, and so we distanced ourselves from everyone and their expectations of “happily ever after.”
We’re now in the midst of another struggle, doing our best to strike a healthier balance between disclosure and privacy. Still, many of the people around us have no idea what we’re facing. They aren’t riding the emotional roller coaster we are. Their faith isn’t being tested daily. They aren’t undergoing trial by fire. They’re sailing along oblivious to our suffering.
And so, too often, there’s very little grace.
In a world that’s moving at a million miles an hour, there’s apparently no time for it – and no need. No time to gently uncover the story behind the misunderstanding. No time for a compassionate question like, “Is everything okay with you?” No time to revisit things in any context other than the one that inconvenienced or aggravated them.
No extenuating circumstances: No grace.
So, I’ve been faced with a choice. I can make our struggle public knowledge and explain its consequences for my emotions, my memory, my occasionally faulty judgment, my fatigue, and my seeming disinterest in the minutia of other people’s lives. Or, I can slap on the mask of “Everything’s great!” and do my best to meet the world’s expectations – with little or no margin for error.
You know what? I need another option. And I need a lot of grace.
That’s what made me cry.
I need more grace — without explanation, without resentment, without a heavy sigh that tells me I’m asking for something unreasonable. I need it not because I deserve it, but because life is hard.
Where can I find it?
I’ve re-discovered that the world will never be able to give me all the grace and compassion I need. But the Lord can, and He longs to. Yesterday, I heard “Better Than a Hallelujah” for the first time. If you haven’t heard it already, click this link. You may hear what I did….
“Lord, I need grace” is better than a hallelujah sometimes.