Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A larger, lovely whole

"After three years, I continue to live in that tension. But there is a significant difference now. The sorrow I feel has not disappeared, but it has been integrated into my life as a painful part of a healthy whole. Initially, my loss was so overwhelming to me that it was the dominant emotion--sometimes the only emotion--I had. I felt like I was staring at the stump of a huge tree that had just been cut down in my backyard. The stump, which sat all alone, kept reminding me of that beloved tree that I had lost. I could think of nothing but that tree. Every time I looked out the window, all I could see was that stump. Eventually, however, I decided to do something about it. I landscaped my backyard, reclaiming it once again as my own. I decided to keep the stump there, since it was both too big and too precious to remove. Instead of getting rid of it, I worked around it. I planted shrubs, trees, flowers, and grass. I laid out a brick pathway and built two benches. Then I watched everything grow. Now the stump remains, still reminding me of the beloved tree I lost. But the stump is surrounded by a beautiful garden of blooming flowers and growing trees and lush grass. Likewise, the sorrow I feel remains, but I have tried to create a landscape around the loss so that what was once ugly is now an integral part of a larger, lovely whole."

--Jerry Sittser, A Grace Disguised, pg. 51.

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