“Where would you like to sit?”
My door opens into my kitchen and she quickly closes it behind her, capturing the aroma of freshly baked cookies before it escapes. I sense her approval.
“We can stay here in the kitchen, or go into the living room. Your choice. No matter to me.”
This was her first time here. As she took a quick glance around, examining the layout of my home, she said,
“The living room looks comfortable. The chairs are softer. It hurts my back if I sit too long on the high stools in your kitchen, you know.”
“Okay, let me just move this stuff. Don’t want you sitting next to my clutter. And let me open up the shades. Been busy this morning. Woke up late. I’m behind in everything. I didn’t even think of the shades, the weather being what it is. We haven’t seen the sun in days.”
When all was cleared away, and the shades opened, a thin ray of light quickly shone through the window and bounced off the giant fern behind her and revealed the beautiful mahogany finish that lay under a thin layer of dust on the coffee table.
I sat down and as I listened to her lament, I thought of all the times I am, not in her situation, but in her place, that place of despair.
I know it well.
Despair is like a black dot on a pure white piece of paper. You are that dot. Your entire world, a single smear that cannot be erased. A stain that nullifies all goodly purpose. Though you may see the white space, and know it is part of your world, you cannot touch it. Your own darkness consumes you. Even noise is irrelevant as it all sounds the same.
It can creep up on you at any moment, last for days, months, even years. Every promise you may happen to see only brings hesitancy. You reach out to no one and nothing completely, lest it dissipates in your hand like cotton candy, leaving only a sticky residue of an unfulfilled palate.
Like every emotion, despair is its own reminder of its presence. It self propagates through every false rendition of authenticity.
So, how do you help someone who is in despair?
One speck of hope is still hope. A single flame of a candle is still light. It may not light up the whole room, but you can carry it with you and it can help you find your way through the blackest dark.
“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.”(Ps 19:14 KJV)
One does not need words to see, but the light that illuminates.
My words, my thoughts, and my opinions by themselves cannot heal. Solomon paid a lofty price, but he learned.
“Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.” (Eccl 5:2 KJV)
The more I write, the more I am reminded that words have influence. The Psalmist linked his words with his heart. To meditate upon the Lord before I use my words, whether in speaking or writing, can add light to make the difference in a life.
Jesus Christ is a light that nothing can extinguish.
With Him in my heart, there is never total despair, only the highlight of shadow.
The sun shines in the lowlands just as much as the high places. We have to clear the obstacles that hide shadows. I have hope. If I am walking in shadow, light is close by, for a shadow is caused by light.
I may need to pull up the shades, clear some clutter and see what is under the dust.
I didn’t solve any problems that day, but maybe I helped her see in the dark.
“I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God? Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” (Ps 42:9–11 KJV)
For those without an indwelling Christ, there is only despair, but hope for the asking.
For those with an indwelling Christ, there is a continual hope. Don’t ever stop asking the Lord to reveal it.