I was up late the other night with my mind just running wild. I wanted to sleep but it was clear that wasn't going to happen anytime soon. I saw an old journal sitting on the shelf and I thought maybe I'll write for a while. Of course I got distracted and started reading old entries from a couple years ago. I'm reminded that I love journaling more for the looking back than anything else, to see how things have changed and grown.
I just finished reading The Brothers K this week, and for as heartbreaking as the story is, it all comes together just so at the end. Authors are incredible like that. They move you from strangers of the characters to dear friends, through so much life and loss and deep sorrow and pain. I found myself yearning for redemption towards the end, for something good to come out of so much sorrow. As my fingers held those last few pages, I braced myself for the end, reading slowly and letting every word and sentence sink in.
The way things were going had me pretty sad. Here I was getting to the end of things and my heart just ached for all the characters. I wanted something good for these characters, so much more than they had received in life. I wasn't sure how the author was going to turn things around and I doubted that he even could at times. But, you know what? He did, and ever so beautifully. In the web of story and family that he had spun and the intricate and seemingly unimportant details, he brought goodness and redemption and hope. It's like he shined a light in the dark so we could see how all those little bits and pieces fit together just perfectly so. When I read those last few pages I felt so good and pleased and grateful for the ending. Those kinds of endings are my favorite.
I so often wish for that kind of perspective. My last entry in my journal was craving that kind of light in the dark, to see if there was good that came out of my own sorrow and pain, because it sure didn't seem like it at the time. I wanted to see my life spun into something beautiful and good, to see that it doesn't end there, that God will redeem what was broken. I often think that when we die we'll get to see how everything fits together. That's my hope anyway, and that I'll let out a big long sigh of relief.
I think God, the author of our lives, does give us glimpses of our lives in the shining light, that allows us to see how he's been working in us and weaving his goodness into our broken stories, into our sin, and into our sorrow. He says he will give beauty for ashes. He will rebuild, repair and restore what was destroyed. I see that. He has given me beauty for ashes in Brian, the one whom my soul loves. I remember when my friend Kirby, who I hadn't seen in a year came into the cafe and said, "wow, you look great, you're glowing" All I did was smile, and he said, "you're in love, I can tell, what's his name?" Somewhere in that time I began to feel again and it felt like a miracle. Love was growing where I once that it never could.
Looking back on both Brian and I's stories that have both been through times of great sadness and sorrow, I see that God has woven goodness into our stories, in the form of each other. And in that, I feel so good and pleased and grateful, much like I felt at the end of The Brothers K. Not that this is the end, there is so much more life to live and joys and sorrows ahead and it's not just my life in this story. I will wait and yearn and hope for redemption, beauty for ashes, and restoration and goodness to come out of the pain and sorrow.
And I know it will, because I know the author and He promises that.
And I trust Him.