February 15, 2012

Behind the Scenes

You know some weeks are just tough.  And this is one of them.

Our Pastor shared with us a prayer request Sunday night for the family of a young man from a church in Texas. I have never met this fellow.  To my knowledge I have never met a member of his family.  I don't even know their name.  But several years ago, Allen and I walked in their shoes when my young cousin, a heroine addict was found dead in his bed.  It was an overwhelming time for us, but the Lord gave us the grace to walk through each moment as they came.

Monday, all those emotions came back and weighed heavily on my heart.  That's the way I am.  When someone hurts, I hurt.  When someone is happy, I can not contain my joy.  I feel things personally and deeply.

I think it is a bit neurotic.  Allen calls it passion.  He attributes it to my Italian blood.  And, funny as it is, he tells me he loves it.

When I am aching and bemoaning the sorrow, he lovingly reminds me that in order to feel such unrestrained joy, I must also be willing to take the heartache.

I have no trouble sharing the joy in my life.  But, aside from one special friend and my good hubby, I don't often share the heartache.  I have been attacked too many times when I made myself vulnerable.  I am a behind the scenes person.  Whatever is going on in the lives of those around me, I am behind the scenes, laughing or crying right along with you.

Sometimes, I feel like this is such a burden.  I mean, let's face it.  Most of us have enough of our own tears to shed without crying for everyone else, too.  But, mostly, I find this a blessing.  When I hurt, I go to the Lord.  And what could be greater than the way you feel His presence in times of sorrow?

I am glad the Lord is a behind the scenes sort of guy.  Often, we slip into our everyday and forget that He is there, controlling the outcome, feeling our joy and experiencing our pain.  The key thing to remember is whether we see Him or not, He is there.

He knew what kind of week I was going to have, long before I had a hint of it.

For Christmas a friend gave me a book of daily devotions.  The verses aren't my preference of KJV.  And I want the Lord to speak to me, not someone else's commentary.  So I look at the reference and then study the verse or verses in my own Bible.  Sometimes after I journal, I go back and read what the author had to say.  I like to study the serene photographs on the page for each day.

So, as I was saying, our behind the scenes Lord knew what sort of week I was going to have and what I was going to need and what I would need to share with others way back when my friend chose that book for me.

First thing Monday morning, I sat down to my study.  What verse did I end up in?

Matthew 5:4  "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted."

This verse makes me smile as I remember all the times I have been comforted.   When my heart aches and I am mourning, it can be hard to see the blessings in the pain.  But Jesus controls even the times of sorrow.  I know first hand that in the times of greatest sadness we can most experience the comfort of His loving arms.  It is in those times that I have most experienced the love of those in my life.  So, while I may not say in the midst of the sadness, I will say it now, I am grateful for the times of mourning so that I can know the blessing of being comforted.

And, as Allen says, because I feel sadness and suffering so acutely, I can experience the joy and happiness of life in a greater way than most people.  This is an incredible truth.  So, if I must take the broken heart to experience the dancing in between, than I am indeed blessed to be allowed to mourn.  I am grateful for the passion to experience it in a greater way.

When it comes to suffering, there are two kinds of people in this world.  Those who draw into themselves and go to a corner to lick their wounds and those who use it for good.  I choose to use the gift of mourning for the Lord.  I choose to seek out those who are hurting and try to bring them comfort.  I choose to bless others and to be blessed.

Since Monday, it has been one bit of sad news after another.  The young man in Texas.  Another friend who was laid off.  One friend sent a text about her heartache over a suffering friend who is dying of cancer.  I know how painful and sad this is for her.  I ached.  I cried.  My kids cried.  And then I rejoiced for my friend.  I know that her heart aches because she has loved this dear woman and this dear woman has loved her.  I know Elizabeth will go straight to the arms of our Savior and one day Dawn and she will be reunited on the streets of gold.  I thanked the Lord for the comfort He shared with me in that moment and for the opportunity He has given me to comfort someone I love very much.

Perhaps one could say, "Blessed are they that give comfort, for they shall rejoice!"

Another friend contacted me for advice in regards to a lady who tried to take her own life.  She has been hurting for some time.  Back in November she revealed her plan to my friend.  She doesn't know the Lord and in her sorrow, this is the only way she sees to deal with her heartache.  Last night, she did attempt to end her life in this world.  What she doesn't understand is that ending her life here without the Lord will only lead to an eternity of greater suffering.  Despite counsel and medication and being hospitalized, she has only grown worse in these months because she refuses to know the great comforter, the only one who can truly ease the pain and suffering of this life.  My friend is beside herself with worry and fear.  She is grasping for some way to free her friend from pain and to escape the sadness and overwhelming feelings herself.

Up front, those around me see someone abundantly blessed and full of joy.  You might see someone planning for a fun time of fellowship with my girlfriends on Friday.  You might see someone smiling after a day of celebrating those I love.  You might see someone looking forward to walking on the arm of my beloved Friday night at the Sweetheart banquet.  And all those things are truly me.

But what you might miss is the me behind the scenes.  Once again, here I sit with a heavy heart.  Aching for my friend and her unknown friend.  But I am grateful for this pain.  Because it gives me an opportunity to share the love of Jesus with someone I love.  It gives me an opportunity to feel His arms wrapped tightly around me.  It gives me the opportunity to share my God, the one behind the scenes.  Waiting to take each of them into His arms and comfort them.  It gives me an opportunity to tell of His love to someone who otherwise might not care to hear the message I have been sent to give.

And if that is what comes from mourning, I say bring it on dear Lord Jesus.  Bring it on!


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