A Spring day in Salisbury
Those days when the windows are first pushed up, birds sing at 5 am, leaves bud, and daffodils bloom is a very good day to find some friends and go walking downtown somewhere, and that is precisely what we did a few Sundays ago. There are days and times that go down in memory as an afternoon or day or week that wasn't a stand-out at the time, but looking back makes a significant memory that stands out as beautiful ever after. I've had memories that hold a flash and bang for me, but the ones I like best are the heart-warming moments spent with comfortable friends.
After church, a good lunch, and me peeling myself off the couch, (hate spring colds) we went to downtown Salisbury to ate ice-cream, walk around and eventually stumble onto this little place that was beautiful and full of light, shadows and stonework.
La Princesa Mia has the most perfect posture I've ever seen in a child. She sits perfectly upright in dainty loveliness and smiles obligingly for photographs. Today she went the extra mile.
La princesa has a lovely mother.
We sat around on little benches and soaked up sunshine - rather they all did. I couldn't stop snapping pictures of all the shadows that impressed me.
Admittedly, my camera phone couldn't quite compensate for over or under exposure of the time of day and shadow, but the setting was so lovely.
Red doors beg for photos taken. Even with cheesy poses.
And one... more... picturesque.
The Problem of Pain
Lately I have thought about how much I hold back what I am really thinking or feeling because of fear that I can't understand what the other person is experiencing enough to be of any good. Some friends of mine recently found out their mum might have cancer, some I know have lost spouses, some have lost children, some have broken relationships, some other friends' mom was diagnosed approximately a year ago in stage 4 cancer, but has been recently cleared. I feel for them keenly and keep silent because what right have I to presume to understand what someone is going through? I am merely a witness, it is not my road and it does not feel as if I have the right to offer what would surely have to be cliche or meaningless platitude so I watch in silence with a full heart for them, and say nothing.
It is not my road, but yet it is my road, because I am walking with them in friendship. It is my pain. It isn't my pain or hurt or betrayal in the most direct sense, but the legitimacy of their feelings in some part become mine. So what is it about someone else's pain that immobilizes me? It is beyond my control what has happened to them, yet to grapple with the question of 'why not me' is sometimes the hardest thing to face in friendship. It isn't my pain. It is my pain. The legitimacy of this grips me and shames me, and in great sympathy I do nothing while the tears of the saints fall. What can I say? Perhaps nothing, because I would not add to pain with thoughtless words.
Yet to leave anyone comfortless during crisis goes against the greatest commandment I know of: love. What is this kind of compassion? Where words are not superfluous or clash and bang with all the indelicacy of brass or cymbals. In the great struggle of someone else's grief or pain what can I possibly play to resolve the dissonance of someone's life driven apart when it cannot be resolved but must continue to play its movement to the score of a greater composition?
What can be sung when the music is beyond words? When what we know becomes swallowed in a great picture so far away from our humanity that our vision blurs with tears and our voices falter in sympathy?
I don't know, and it feels unpolished to mesh together a blog post about spring and painful questions with no answers on this grey, cloudy and chilly day, but life is sometimes like that. Answers aren't always pat to the psychological moment and wrapped in airy boxes with a yellow ribbon on top. Sometimes spring retreats for a little while behind a thick blanket of grey heaviness, sometimes writers are at a loss for words and struggle to communicate, and sometimes we remember that pain is not comfortable. It is not predictable, and the music will keep on playing while we sit playing an accompaniment that does not match and wonder why we are here. Sometimes we are left playing the solo we never wanted.
Yet out of all this emerges one great beauty, because we are not alone as God orchestrates us but all together in one grand piece that is full of the most epic music we could imagine. Even during the worst parts there is a promise of the best is yet to come, and the darkness can't endure. It doesn't take away pain, but we know it can't last, and this is where we must stand together, as friends, as fellow heirs in this promise.
And so we hope and believe.