They walk and talk- and it is getting so dark outside. The snow whirls around them in a vortex of ragged wind from the north-east as they trudge through the shin-high drifts and try to make their way. But it is rough going. The trail they have carved out is more like a cow-path than anything when they finally make their last turn for home. She stumbles but catches herself from falling.
They press on.
She listens as he talks. And she tries to make sense out of all the trouble- tries to find a way for them both. He turns to her and tells her that she has made him feel better and she hugs him and tells him that was the plan. She wants to help. She cares.
But sometimes words fail to convey that care. Fail to explain, describe, clarify, enlighten. And sometimes even, words hurt: inflict, wound, injure and impair. Leaving the other to try and piece together the remains into something that makes sense.
Life is hard and people are the ones that know this reality the most. Words are sometimes all we’ve got to stake our pride.
And one doesn’t have to look far to find hurting people in need of a word of comfort. In need of a kind gesture, a simple encouragement.
So what does the girl do when she has gazed inside the glass and all she sees is a tunnel of darkness? Pitch black nothingness. An unknown abyss that appears to be bottomless, with no way out?
And what does the boy say when he is faced with the news, given the verdict, read the riot act and there is no happy ending in view?
What do men and women do when life turns sour, when it all turns belly up? When health fails, relationships strain and doom is pending?
What do people do when life gets hard?
Where do we go for help? By Whom are our cries heard?
We wait for resolution with our fragile sense of uncertainty, each and every day. Wondering, guessing, hoping: and then, our expectations are found deflating. Because there is not always an answer that immediately comes to mind. Not always words. Not always an explanation that rises quickly to the occasion, announcing its arrival. Sometimes answers are hard to come by, making both life hard and understanding it to boot seem nearly impossible.
Life is hard- and figuring it all out even harder.
The mystery leads us to the discovery.
The discovery that God gave us people to help us out. Gave us one another- each other, for a reason. To stand in the gap. To bear witness. To hold space. To uphold and sustain one another through the hard times. God gave us ‘each other’ to be that support, that advocate for one another. To sustain one another. And when we do this for the others in our lives, that is encourage one another- even through the hardest of times, we come to realize that we can carry on. There is strength. Hope. And we can make our way through to the other side.
The light shines from the pathway lanterns and together they walk the narrow route toward home. Winds howl and snow eddies tug at their jackets. But these are no match for them. There is no contest.
They got each other- and that is enough.
Galatians 6:2: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”