The water is cold on my feet, yet soothing because its chill numbs the smoldering pain of rheumatoid arthritis. I look out at the unfathomable depths, roiling like crinkled crepe paper. There’s a popular song with a phrase that says “I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean.” I do feel small, just as when I study the infinite stars on a clear night. But then why, oh God, why- if I am such a small infinitesimal speck on this earth or in this universe, or in your creation, is my hurt so big? My heart is weighed down as if it has been chained to massive anchors and thrown into the very sea I stand beside.
I do not hurt for myself. I ache for my lost child. I ache for my living children and the hurts they endure. I ache for friends who carry heartbreak in their own souls. I ache for the scores of people who suffer from disease, hunger, fear, and sorrow. I ache for what might of been. If I, being so tiny in the big scheme of things, can feel these burdens, how much more did Christ suffer when he took all of our collective sins and grief to bear?
My mind knows the platitudes to escape this morass. Count your blessings! Look around you at the beauty God has given you to enjoy! Do for others and you won’t have time to feel sorry for yourself! Stay busy! There are so many others who have it worse than you! Keep your mind occupied! Pray! Read your Bible! If it were only so simple. All of these will help, but only to a point. I can assure you I’ve tried each and every one. But still, at times, that dark brooding seeps in. Even on a beautiful day on the beach.
Take heart, my friend. Even if you are a very strong person, the darkness can creep in. No one is totally immune to such an insidious phenomenon. If you experience such miasma, it does not mean you are flawed, or sick, or not faithful enough. It doesn’t mean you are a bad Christian, or losing your mind, or self-centered. It means you are compassionate. It means you are caring. It means you are sensitive to others around you. And above all, it means you are human.