Please understand, my friend. I want to be happy for you. I am happy for you. I’m so glad you don’t have to bear the pain anymore.
But there are times when that pain overwhelms my own heart because I’m still in the longing season.
And it’s times like those when I just don’t have the strength to celebrate with you by loving your pictures or statuses.
I hope you’ll forgive me. I hope you’ll have patience with me. I hope you’ll understand that these tears that trickle down my face aren’t in anger or spite towards you – they’re just grieving over what a broken world can’t give me.
And maybe you might be able to sit with me in my grief … maybe not try to rationalize it away or ignore it, but simply love me and point me back to Christ.
Like my dear, dear mentor who whispered in my ear as she hugged me, “I don’t have the answers, but we know the One who does.”
These moments of grief won’t last forever. I’ll be able to snuggle with your baby and like your date night pictures again one of these days.
But if I’m silent, know that I still love you – I’m just feeling the hurt of loneliness a little too much to say anything.
If I’m silent, know that maybe I’ve heard one too many matchmaking schemes and it’s hard to find them entertaining anymore.
If I’m silent, it might be because I just can’t think of any more witty responses to the quips about marriage coming my way someday.
If I’m silent, perhaps I’m finding it hard to believe that marriage is even a possibility for me, and that it’s easier to sink my great capacity for love into those who will receive it – my precious students – than to keep holding out for the one who won’t come forward for it.
Some days there are words to articulate how I’m feeling and what I long for.
Some days there are no words – just tears and a silent ache for someone to understand – and not awkwardly shrug it away.
I don’t expect everyone to understand. Everyone has their own cross to bear, their own grief to harbor.
But maybe, like in the beautiful book I read before school started, we can harbor the ones in our lives to whom we are close – whose grief is one we can share because what hurts them, hurts us.
Maybe if I need to cry a little because I’m tired of being the strong one, you can give me your shoulder. And when you get tired of being the strong one, I can give you mine.
And maybe we can sit with the silence and not try to find all the answers.
Maybe we can linger with the lament and grieve the emptiness.
Maybe we can find strength in the presence of one another.
And in the end, find the strength that comes from Christ alone.
He has written the chapters of our lives carefully, with not one mistake thrown in. And when the silence of some chapters stretches on interminably, He is still ever-present. He is the One who understands when it feels like no one else does.
And one of these days, He’ll bring back my joy so that I might celebrate with you again in truth.
But for today, forgive me if I flick past your picture without commenting or liking. It might be too much for my heart to handle, for sometimes it is more fragile than strong. And if you ever need to do the same, I’ll understand.
My love for you will always be there.
And thankfully, Christ’s love will undergird me with the strength my human frailty needs so badly.
How beautiful that hope.