Morning breaks to find me sitting at the edge of the horizon waiting patiently. As the warmth of the light filled particles warms my face, bones, and heart I can’t help but feel hopeful that today is the day. My eyes hold steady in focus the winding road leading to my door. He is coming today! I knew it yesterday in the underneath of my belly, that “knowing” place deep inside beyond reason and doubt. So, I made myself ready before dawn, before light awakened the sleeping and unassuming. Eagerly, I position myself in the best vantage point to see his arrival. Oh! How my eyes have hungered for his face and touch! Oh! The tears I have cried for him to remember me and set himself to the pathway to my door.
As the morning turns to late afternoon, my heart never wavers, my eyes never cease their searching. My heart quickens with the evening breeze as I listen for the rustle of his footsteps. Twilight approaches and with it the lonely song of the mockingbird. As his whistled tune reverberates through the cavern of my mind and echoes through the tunnels of my heart, I catch movement down the path. As my eyes tightened to adjust to the great distance and dimming light, one thing is certain. This isn’t the friend I longed for. This is a stranger who approaches.
More frightening than the knowledge of the stranger is the assurance that he is no friend but a supposed enemy. The blow to my heart is doubly felt. I scarce can take in all that is affronting me. The realization that my friend isn’t coming is hard enough to deal with, but the knowledge that someone I don’t know is now standing in front of me, as to take hold of me, drives me to my knees in devastation and sadness.
The stranger is not put off by my tears nor screams. He is indifferent to my suffering of his presence. Easily and gently he slowly settles himself on the ground beside me. And there we sit, all night, all day, all night. Again and again the 24-hour cycle comes and goes and the stranger shadow never leaves me.
In the days upon his arrival, I am changed. My blood has turned to lead and it’s all I can do to stand up and move from one spot to another. The air around me is stale and putrid. There is no appetite in me. My thoughts swirl around me in confusion, anger and nothingness. Oh, how I hate the stranger! I hate that he’s come to my door. And I tell him. I scream my bitterness to him. My cold eyes hold his gaze and I bathe in the hatred I have for him. But, still he stays. And never is he forgotten.
For the first time after four and half years since his first appearance, I decided to look at him, the stranger. He never had hands to help me or to lift me up. He never had answers for me or comfort to offer. He only ever brought me heartache, devastation, and loss. I couldn’t abide his presence much less want to engage in a look. But now, with my head lifted, my heart steady and my mind focused, I found his face. And his hand found mine.
That which startled me most about the engagement was what was revealed in my heart… gratitude.
It is unspeakable what transpired in that millisecond of exchange. Why in the world would I feel gratitude for him? Especially when all I ever felt was anger and hatred for him. How I longed for Miracle that day, four and half years ago. I sat eagerly waiting for his arrival. He was meant to make my life better again. For weeks and months, I sat at the edge of the dawn eagerly awaiting his coming. Foolish is what I felt after his refusal and betrayal, foolishness clumped together with jagged edges of emotion and a bleeding heart. Miracle didn’t come that day but instead, Tragedy was sent on his journey to find my front door. Tragedy, not Miracle, found me. And his visit is the hardest thing I’ve ever endured.
Though I have hated Tragedy, I’ve come to learn he doesn’t hate me. Through him there is opportunity to see and experience a different world. I was brought low through his visit. I know what it is to breathe only dust and lose life’s dreams. My body has rebelled as wildly as my soul for his visit. There is not one aspect of me that Tragedy has left unchanged. And yet, in our exchange, gratitude is what I unexpectedly experienced.
Miracle and Tragedy aren’t opposites of good and bad or ministers of blessing and judgement; they are kindred spirits revealing hearts and exposing truths.
Only the mended heart can experience the honor of mending the broken hearted. To have a heart mended is to know the price of having your heart broken.