As we go through life, we carry many things with us – memories of our first loves, the day we got married, the births of our children, overall life experiences – both happy and sad. Inevitably, we also carry the hurts and losses – deaths of loved ones, broken relationships, job loss, wayward children. The list can go on and on. Whether it’s intentional or not, we begin carrying our bag of sorrows.
It becomes a place where all the losses and disappointments in life get tucked away. One day you turn around, and you feel the overwhelming heaviness of that bag. The darkness comes upon you because you’ve allowed that bag of sorrows to overtake you.
You wake up, and without realizing it, you feel heavier. Your heart is no longer as light, happy, or fulfilled as it once was. You stop doing the things you once loved and become grumpy and snippy to those you claim to love.
Relationships that were once so important have been pushed to the side. You avoid those closest to you, no longer reaching out but running in the other direction. Instead of seeing love, care, and support, you now seem to view things through a darkened lens caused by the unhappiness in your world.
This is all part of the grief journey and the deep disappointments that have affected your life. Understandably, these hurts can change a person. As a mother who has lost a child, it’s often been said that we are never the same person we once were. True, but I also don’t want my heart hardened to the point where I’m pushing away all the happiness and joy life can offer. We are still here, and God isn’t finished with us yet.
We can allow the darkness to overtake us and carry our bag of sorrows around like a medal of honor. Or we can begin to allow God to heal our hearts and let the joy of the Lord be our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10) Instead of avoiding that person, reach out and call them. Make a date for a cup of coffee. Take a chance – be vulnerable and share your heart and how you’ve been feeling. Then move forward, taking all the good with you.
Many years ago I lost one of my best friends to ovarian cancer. Within 90 days of her diagnosis, she was gone. This wicked disease was swift and brutal. She was like a sister to me, and I was devastated. However, one of the things I remember most as I stood there in her hospital room, one hour before she ran ahead to heaven, was a song that came on the television. It was Michael W. Smith sitting at a piano singing a song I’d never heard –Friends. Suddenly, as I began to really hear the words I realized it was a beautiful gift God was giving me.
“But we’ll keep you close as always
It won’t even seem you’ve gone
‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong.
And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
‘Cause the welcome will not end.
Though it’s hard to let you go in the Father’s hands, we know
That a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends
Friends, instead of carrying our bag of sorrows around, let’s consider laying them aside. I hope you’ll take a moment to listen to this song and let God begin to heal the brokenness within. If you have suffered any loss, don’t try to get your arms around it. Let God get His arms around you. He knows you’re suffering and will give you the comfort of His presence and the healing balm of His love.