When You Feel Like a Monument to Your Pain

Do you ever feel like you are a walking monument to the pain and losses in your life? That each disappointment built you brick-by-brick? Each moment of grief hardened a portion of your frame otherwise you would fall apart like slop on the kitchen floor?

That if you let the tears flow, they’d never stop, so you bottle them up, never to be seen by the witnesses?

What if our tears were meant to be the monuments, one drop at a time in the open air to soften the heart? Not just of the weeper but of the witnesses?

I’ve felt a monument to loss at times, one of those salt pillars that dot the landscape, always looking back to what once was- a great loss. Dust settles atop the mound of me, never looking forward, until I remember: We are all in process.

When I was pregnant I constantly rubbed my belly. The orb was tempting for my hands. I rubbed it in circles, smooth and consistent as I talked: my crystal ball. I’d think of the past loss as I prepared for the future.

When the water broke and the baby descended, and my body convulsed with the demands of labor, new tears flowed because of pain, but it was different this time: I knew what was to come.

What if I looked at life that way? That when I experience contractions of loss, hardships, difficulties, that I remember they all lead to something glorious: That the birthing pains pave the way for something new. That the monuments in my life need not be built of hardened material, but the stuff of renewal and a hope for the future.

The pain reminds us that we were made for something more, carving a path toward life-intended. The contrast of what we want versus what actually is, gives birth to longing. And that is the place where the Holy Spirit can do the deep work.

We were never meant to be hardened creatures, simplified reminders of the despair in the world. We were sculpted, with all our complexities, to be living, moving images of the beautiful God who made us-that in our losses he brings beauty from the ashes; joy from our mourning.

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