“Is this place always going to cause pain?” This was the question I asked myself as I stared at the ocean from my car window.
I had come to this place because I had an extra hour of time before meeting a friend. It is a place I know well. And it is beautiful. On this day a pristine deep blue ocean reflected a softer blue, cloudless sky. There was a spring breeze and sail boats, newly launched after the winter, were anchored in the harbor. Benches lined the rocky shore, perfect to sit on and stare. You could stare all day at this beauty. A park with a gazebo was to my back, ocean at my front, heart was in the pit of my stomach.
“Why after all these years do I still feel pain?” I first discovered the park when we had moved to the area after living for over ten years overseas. I remember coming with a one year old and a four year old. They happily played on swing sets, slides and other playground equipment while I grieved a life gone. I felt a certain level of peace at this park when I brought them to play, probably because of the beauty, but it was still a place of grief.
As I revisited the park a couple of weeks ago it was like my grief had been buried there, ready to resurface as soon as I returned. It felt so profoundly sad. Tears filled my eyes. Like waves crashing on shore during a hurricane, it shouted of pain.
Why, oh why can’t I heal from this place? From that time? That time of disconnect and feeling ‘other’; that time of being told to pull up my bootstraps when I didn’t even have any boots; that time of trying so hard only to face rejection.
I got out of my car and walked towards the ocean, holding my arms close to my body for protection rather than cold. It was as if by doing so I could shield my heart just a little from pain I didn’t want to feel. I stared out at the ocean willing the beauty to wipe away the pain.
The place shouted hurt and only whispered healing. The place shouted defeat and only whispered hope. The place shouted pain, the beauty whispered redemption;
I don’t know how long I stood, completely lost in memories. A sigh woke me to my present and I realized I had someplace to be, someone to see.
And I had no answers.
I stood for a few minutes longer and realized that there is strength and healing in even a soft whisper of redemption. It was as though my questions were whispered out to sea with the waves. A whisper was enough. Enough to let me know it was okay to have no answers, okay to let the beauty wash over my memories and my heart, and with it to believe that pain is never wasted.
Recently someone with far fewer years than I wrote to me. As she worked through her grief in written words, she said this “I don’t understand the mystery of how Heaven and Hell can be involved in the same pain we face as humans, but they can for what Satan intends for harm, God uses for good. And I just have to trust that even when I cannot see it.”
Heaven and Hell involved in the same pain. These words of mystery shouted of redemption, for Hell may be strong but Heaven is stronger still.