“I walked a mile with Sorrow
And never a word said she;
But, oh, the things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me.”
~Robert Browning Hamilton
Is there ever any meaning to our suffering; I mean, real, raw, rancorous suffering?
We might cheat ourselves into thinking some are spared the sorrow. But none are. Nobody in this life is spared the craziness and perfunctory nothingness found revelling in pain. But many of us bypass it, for a soothing drink or drug—and many varieties of ‘drug’ there are.
The poetic promise above is gorgeously surreal in a very confronting way. Who, really, would walk that mile with Sorrow unless they had to?
Who, really, would volunteer to walk so frightfully alone, with a companion so ambivalently recalcitrant in her way? The passage of sorrow is castigating, with tributaries down to numbness and strobes of real sight that are blinding.
Walking alone with sorrow is the bravest thing we could ever do.
Making A Fist Of The Impossible
Faith is a thing taking us each step along that mile. Faith keeps us open for the learning that sorrow has for us. Our faith meets with God’s sponsorship to ensure this journey is not wasted, and indeed, becomes the making of us.
Making a fist of the impossible—having faith enough to journey one step at a time—enduring the total mile, somehow—is the courage to go on when we are blinded for sight, stuck for breath, hankering for the food of joy, and leg weary.
None of the impossible is really impossible to an unconquerable spirit. And who knows who has an unconquerable spirit but the one who goes on? And how do we know if we have what it takes to go on?
We may give up, even for a time. These are just pauses along that lonely mile. To give up would be to turn back, and the blessing of sorrow doesn’t allow that. Sorrow commends us to the journey; to a journey we must continue; a journey that is slow and faltering and wearying and despairing. But it bends us forward.
Loving The Learning
One thing we can appreciate, even in the midst of sorrow, is that we are learning.
We are learning about ourselves, about life, about resilience, and about realities far-flung and altogether surreal, until now.
Loving the learning is a sadistic venture to the uninitiated observer. Our experience is different. We see the value in sorrow even if others think it’s weird. And when we see such value we appreciate we have become unconquerable. We are wedded to the gospel way.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.