The dark places

A while back my wife was helping to set up an event at our church building. As we were putting on the final touches the night before, we needed to button something up in the sanctuary. She asked me if I would go along with her. I assumed there was some heavy lifting, or a high shelf involved; but to my surprise, she only needed to turn off the lights at the sound booth.  As the sanctuary went dark she grabbed my hand, and we headed to the exit together. When we got to the lobby, I asked her why she asked me to go with her, it didn’t seem like she needed my help at all. She just shrugged and grinned at me; “I just wanted you to walk through the dark places with me” she said.  

I loved this moment. It spoke so much about our marriage, and life in general. The expectation is that there are dark places, that they aren’t to be avoided, but that they are to be traveled together.  Media tells us that love should be romantic and that life promises a “happily ever after “. But life tells us differently. 

Nobody pictures life full of difficulty as a child, but without exception it happens. No one chooses cancer, loss of a loved one, or a bankruptcy; but you can count on them. The secret isn’t to live a charmed life, but to choose to walk through life with people who understand the journey. 

I’m not talking about soul mates here. This is yet another sinister myth from fiction we all assume to be true. No one is “made for you”. The truth is, we are all made in the image of Christ, and have the potential to love with  progressive perfection. I’m talking instead, about intentional accountability and discipleship. 

I’m no stranger to hard times, both personalay and professionally. Seeing patients go through the worst crises of their lives, it’s remarkable the difference support makes. Not everyone is willing to show up to a psychiatric hospital to encourage someone, but those who do, impart something no medicine can effect. It’s not always encouragement, or perfect words that change the outcome. Often, it is simply presence. 

When walking through difficulty, don’t shun contact from those that care. When someone you love is suffering, don’t avoid contact because it’s uncomfortable.  Life is full of dark places, walk through them together; on the other side you’ll both be stronger. 


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