“Now, God be praised, that to believing souls gives light in darkness, comfort in despair.” -William Shakespeare

Dear Lovely,

I wish I knew the right thing to say…  The murky dark has brought shadows across your face and you begin to fade before my eyes. You wear the darkness, as shoulders hunch over and I see you struggle to take steps towards freedom.  Steps toward the light.  You tiptoe around it because the dark feels safe, because you know it.  Because it owns you.  Your fists clench tightly around the darkness that never warms you. And I watch you and call to you. Because I love you.  It isolates you. It will kill you. It hides you from all that gives light.  It is a Hell I can’t seem to break through too, but I hope.  I pray and see you step toward me.  And I believe.

Dear Beautiful,

I remember holding our babies together.  Both of us so tired as they nursed and we watched them, watching us.  Our own little world.  You were practical and part hippy.  I was emotional and deliriously funny.  And then darkness and postpartum tore you away from all of us.  You stopped returning calls.  You stopped nursing next to me.  The night we almost lost you, you drove straight into the night with no plans to ever come back.  I will never forget staring at the phone all night, waiting.  And then hearing you were still with us. As I look at your face, all these years later, the memories still fresh as you step out of the pool towards me, water glistening from your hair.  You are alive.  You stepped out.  You found hope.  You found light.

Dear Joyful One,

I try to find the right things to say, knowing they are all wrong. The darkness tells you it’s God that made this happen. That God doesn’t love you enough.  And no matter what I say it will not fill the deep trenches of overwhelming sadness that fill your heart. You are so broken and all is overcast. And I long to hear your laugh, but you don’t answer your phone.  So I wait and I pray.  And I love you.  And I believe that though it will always hurt, you will heal. You will find life again. I believe for both of us.

Dear Strong One,

The dark has not left, but you have been such a pillar of strength through what would break any person. I look to you, and I feel such a mixture of hope and fear of the unknown of what we still don’t understand. Days pass and you still find hope in little things, and we believe with you.  I know you don’t see yourself as strong, but your love, is so amazing.  Your love for your loved ones is super-powered, and it gives me hope in my own vows and in my own fears of darkness. You have taught me to Believe God.

Dear Bravest,

Seeing your email and knowing what you are about to encounter, brought tears to my eyes and hurt my heart.  News that no woman wants to hear, to see, to realize, and then living through it.  Not knowing what is on the other side.  Not knowing if the darkness will take away your hope. So here I stand in front of the door with you.  All of us do, bringing you little pieces of light, believing with you, hoping with you.  We are praying. We are here.

Dear Little One,

Someday you will look back and realize that mean people, one in particular who has brought you so much darkness is a bully. And bullies lose eventually.  And you are special and beautiful, and just like my  own little one you will be stronger and happier, and you will find strength you never knew you had. I am praying and am so hopeful for your future.

Dear Friend,

I know how you feel. I know you feel helpless and wish you could solve all the problems for all the people you love. I know you feel shallow because you are self-conscious about how you look, because you aren’t pretty enough, and your pants don’t fit right, and your jaw hurts from the stress.  You feel like everyone else has it together, and is more organized. You feel anxious. You wonder if your husband wishes you were more attractive.  You feel like there is so much dark, you can’t remember the days when there was pure light. You spend your night wondering how you could have done better, and blaming yourself for what you should have done.   Your circle has become smaller, and you don’t know who you can trust all the time. The negative ones keep getting more negative.  I know how you feel, because I stand right next to you, as we look at our reflections in the mirror. And even though it’s pitch black outside there is one flickering light.  Hope.  Hope in faith that was there in other dark days.  Days where you watched your Dad mouth he loved you from the ICU…Days when all you wanted was your Mom…Days when your husband’s friend’s life was taken and your kindred’s life was stolen…because you saw the strength of people willing to carry those out of the dark.  Those people are real, and they are led by one amazing God.  So often when I have stumbled, nothing more miraculous than God has lifted me and carried me through, and that flicker becomes a flame so bright that I know I will be okay. We will be okay. Maybe not today.  Or tomorrow. But I hope for that.  I believe in Light worth stepping into. I believe.

God be Praised.