Pandora's Box

happy people aren’t happy all the time.

we’re human too. and we’re just as fragile as the next person.

we want things deeply, and sometimes they don’t happen.

sometimes our hearts are squeezed so tightly that there is no other option but tears.

sometimes the last thing we want to do is smile, but we have to do so anyway because someone else needs it more than our angst.

but sometimes we need that one person who understands and wraps their arms around us and just lets us sob.

Proverbs 14:10 says, “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.”

depression and fear, sorrow and disappointment happen to all of us – even the ones who are usually laughing or smiling in public … tears and exhaustion and a bleak outlook can ensnare all of our hearts without warning.

it’s just that you don’t always see that side of everyone.

just because you don’t see it, please don’t think it doesn’t exist. be gentle with another’s fragile heart and don’t assume they never have any problems.

those eyes? if you look closer at them, you will see a depth that has come not from perfect happiness, but from hurt and sorrow and unanswered prayers and hundreds of teardrops – things that can mature a person if they let them.

that smile? wouldn’t be so bright if it hadn’t known the depths to its opposite – and the gratitude that comes with having it back.

that hug? all the tighter because it knows how deeply each of us humans hurt and need arms that just hold. and comfort. and receive.

optimism is a gift from God. but what’s also an unfathomable gift is walking through the fire – and sometimes, there is just no way to be cheerful about that. it is a gift, though, because God knows what it will bring about – something that we cannot understand, but which draws us closer to Him.

yes, Psalm 71:14 has become my life motto: “But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.” hope that helps me know there is more beyond the tears and the heartache. hope that does eventually restore my joy and helps me to find the beauty in all areas of life.

but it doesn’t deny that sometimes life is just hard. and there’s no pretending like it’s not. so I’ve had to learn that tears are nothing to be ashamed of, being vulnerable is necessary, and strength always comes when we feel at our weakest. sometimes He allows things to be completely out of our control so that we have no choice but to trust Him one hundred percent. and all along the way, He’s gently got our hearts in His hands … He never lets go and He treasures every single tear in His bottle.

glib words don’t solve problems in a night. and I don’t pretend to have all the answers. but for those who are hurting, know that I understand. maybe not the same kind of hurt, but I know what it’s like to be hurt, confused, and in despair. He does give hope and He does restore joy, but it’s nothing I can claim on my own. perhaps I have been given an unusually large dose of optimism for life, but don’t let that keep you from thinking I don’t know what it’s like to be unhappy. the same range of emotions hits every human heart.

so for those whose joy is lost or for those who are struggling to dream again or for those who can’t seem to find light – let us be there for one another and hold each other and pray for one another until we can dance in the freedom of joy and peace once again. because “there may be tears in the night, but joy comes in the morning.”

I love you hurting friend. and I’ll be by your side, holding on for dear life.

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