There I sat, alone in my favorite place – my happy place. A place where I could so easily get lost in my thoughts. Behind me, in the distance, I could glimpse home. Close enough to feel safe, yet far enough away to satisfy my craving for solitude. Never once did I consider the possibility of sorrow invading my happy place.
My Happy Place
In my younger years, I would perch upon that tiny hill and read for what seemed hours. Other times I would sit quietly, lovely dreams dancing within the confines of my heart. Always thinking deeply and worrying little.
Peace met me in that place.
When I think of this place, I remember Peppy, my ornery little brown and white chihuahua whose tongue was too long for his mouth and whose foot doubled as the perfect pacifier. He often tagged along with me, never once complaining about the length of our stay. I think he was fond of it as well.
When Sorrow Invades
One morning I awakened to find Peppy gone. I set aside my normal morning routine and nervously began searching for him. Where could he be hiding? I knew something must be wrong.
Though I don’t recall many details from that day, I remember vividly the moment my search for Peppy ended. Squatting down, knees resting on the cold, vinyl floor, I lifted the bedspread and peered beneath. There he lay. Motionless. Lifeless. Thirteen vibrant years fulfilled in an instant. My young heart was broken.
Even in my brokenness, or perhaps because of my brokenness, it seemed fitting to turn our favorite sitting area into his final resting place. So I set out to do exactly that.
When Brokenness Remains
As I look back on that time in my life, I see something more than just a young girl burying her beloved pet.
I picture myself carrying the broken pieces of my heart into my happy place. I sit awhile. I cry until tears abandon me. Eventually, I pick up the fragments of my heart and carry them home.
It seems I still do this today.
My grown-up heartaches may be different. My losses may be greater. The broken pieces may be too numerous to count, too heavy to carry. Yet, I gather them up. I lug them around. Everywhere I go, they go with me.
Sometimes my brokenness remains hidden beneath the surface. Other times it unexpectedly jumps into the lead, demanding full attention. Always, it is one with me.
In my mediocre, ordinary places.
And yes, in my happy places too.
Probably in yours as well.
You see, even when we’re nestled into the most delightfully, wonderful places, surrounded by our most treasured people, our grief is still our grief. Our pain is still our pain. Our concerns are still our concerns.
When Joy and Sorrow Merge
We cannot fully separate the beauty of life from the times that are anything but beautiful. And as much as we’d like to, we can’t discard our sufferings. This merging together of joy and sorrow acts as a mold, forming us into not only who we are at present, but also into the person we hope to become.
It’s this hope – this amazing hope — of something good, something better, that ushers in peace to the most tender parts of our hearts.
Peace amid the heartache.
Peace in knowing not one tear is wasted.
Peace in the assurance that somehow, someday, someway – something good will come from the sorrow invading our happy place. Peace because we know the One to whom we can trust every ounce of our brokenness.
Friend, when have you experienced sorrow intermingling with your joy? How has peace surfaced through those circumstances?