The celebration of a bridal shower is full of the joyous anticipation of the wedding. Some of the conversations I had were juxtaposed with sorrow of the death of some marriages – long time marriages – 30 years or more.
I asked one woman how she was doing. She is successfully battling breast cancer in both breasts, and her husband is more concerned about his ‘good Christian’ appearance as well as the meals that kind persons are bringing to the home. She said she felt physically strong and well for which we both smiled and were glad. I asked, “And how are your head and heart?” She replied, “A mess. It’s hard to go there.” She went on to cryptically state, “I’m tired of the canned Christian remarks. I want something real but no one seems to have it. I have no time for anything else.”
This is the second woman to make that statement to me: “I want something real.”
There is deep anger and deep hurt within these two women – and I cannot help but wonder how many others. Their marriages are dead or dying. People mean well with the words, “God loves you.” “He won’t abandon you.” “He’ll heal you.” “God hates divorce.” I know how hard it is to find something to say to someone when a situation is difficult.
But I also know the deep, deep yearning in one’s soul, when suffering seems to be all that there is, to have God be ‘real’, to feel His Presence, to have a sense that your prayers are going somewhere more and/or higher than the ceiling in your living room, that the heaving sobs that drop you to your knees and the tears that pour from your eyes are doing something more than soaking the rug in front of you because you don’t have a tissue handy.
How does one convey to another suffering soul that God is real?
How does one become God’s hands and feet in a situation like this?
I think maybe it is not by saying a word – but just by listening.
My heart broke for her. All I could do was hug her and say, “My God, how I understand how you feel.”
Pray for my friend.