I was just thinking of the title of my blog and my book, "Treasures from Darkness." None of us really welcome darkness or heartache into our lives do we? It's the one thing we run from, board our hearts up against. Darkness equals pain. In my life darkness has meant dark, dense depression and it has meant severe, lonely physical pain that has crippled me and kept me from participating in my own life. Darkness to some people means grief or loss. I have not really experienced heart rending loss since my college days when my best friend committed suicide....Not loss of a person, that is. But I have grieved over the loss of my own freedom and independence. I've experienced the loss of the things in life that I most enjoyed.....gone at the hand of illness.
I tend not to really think about heartache. I don't allow myself to really experience grief or sorrow....mostly because in my experience, those things lead to a dark cavern of despair. Sorrow becomes overwhelming pain and a complete loss of hope. So, to avoid falling off of that cliff, I simply have closed my heart to sadness. No sadness allowed. And I recognize that that isn't so very healthy either. I have not cried in as long as I can recall. No, that's not true. I recently cried when my daughter was here. It was because my husband and I were having words and that led to my tears. Martial discord is really the only heartache that I've delved into lately. My heart is guarded against all other types of pain.
But what about the treasure?? What does God want to accomplish in my life as a result of my sorrows? I know he wants me to have more empathy. I confess that I'm not the most sympathetic person. Because I tough things out and because, honestly, my life is very difficult; I do not hold the greatest pity for others who struggle. And I know that that is wrong. My pain should have done at least that. It should have at the very least enabled me to share the heartaches of others....to sympathize in their despair. Sometimes I look at myself and I think, "Cynthia, really!! Look at all these wonderful Christian women who drip sympathy. Who ooze tears and bleed blood along with the hurting people they encounter. Why can I not be like that? " God has got to take a meat tenderizer to my heart. And that would NOT be the most enjoyable experience. Can you imagine?
But I think that my tough soul shelters some very deep rivers of pain. And it is out of FEAR of what I may find there that keeps me from opening my heart to the pain of others. And what does God have to say about that? I have the feeling that he is beckoning me to put on my wader boots. Those hip boots that will keep me dry as we transverse and ford those rivers. He holds out his hand, as he is up to his waist in the river, and says to me "Come." I don't know what I'll find. I don't know if the current will knock my feet out from under me. I don't know if I will discover an empty cold heart. One that has been so hardened to pain that it is one big hunk of scar tissue that will never feel anything again. I don't know if my schizophrenia has closed off those avenues of sorrow to me, if this disease has emptied my soul of all human emotion.
But I know that Jesus wants to baptize me in that river. To dunk me under and bring my soul up - a new life from the bowels of death. I wish I had a tender heart. I wish I had a merciful heart. Maybe when Jesus dips me into the river of pain he will birth in me a heart of flesh. That's what God has promised us right? A heart of flesh. I want mine. I'm standing on the Heart of flesh line. Jesus, break my stone heart and give me one that bleeds.