Today, I hugged a lady that, last time I saw her, yelled at me for something so silly, I couldn’t even believe. Her face was red then, but it was also red today. Last time, it was from rage, and today from pain, because her husband has now two months been in the grave, almost to the day.

I had a chorus teacher in high school who was known for excellence, her grit, and for making students cry or at least want to quit any activity she would lead. I also know that before she passed onto the other side, she flourished in a place she didn’t choose to show often; in compassion. I saw her become love out loud and as her body withered down and the cancer tried to drown her out, her joy through the pain would grow stronger and stronger, even to her last day.

One time, I lost my dog. Before this happened, I would have privately mocked someone who blubbered over such a thing. I almost had him a year when I heard he was hit by a car. I cried so hard, screamed so loud, and could not speak; when I would try, I would only wheeze. I never felt that way before that day. I was broken. I could not alter what had happened. My heart has broken since through the death of friends, the moving away of my twin, and relationships that would finish.

And isn’t it interesting how in the darkest hours and seasons of grieving, that the ugliness in us takes a season of receding? Our eyes are open to greater things if we recognize that life is so much shorter then we like to credit it for, and eternity is so much grater then holding onto pain.

Understanding trumps rage, compassion smacks power in the face, and taking on someone’s pain as your pain is no kin to mockery.

A hug beat a fist, a listening ear can save a life, and a hand can hold someone’s world from crashing down.

Let the things that seem to break you down hold weight in your freedom and don’t loose it when you’re on the other side.

Let it lead you to a life that remembers pain is not permanent, but love and time are, in fact, the only things that can really heal that.

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