The phone rang and a woman’s voice said, “A friend told me about your loss. Can you talk a few minutes?”
I knew immediately what she needed. Her daughter was killed by a drunk driver about the same time our Jennifer died.
I thought, “Maybe I can do this.”
So we talked. We compare traumas. Soon, I feel that familiar pressure coming from deep inside my chest and deep within my soul. The more we talk the more it grows. I’m going to be drowning soon.
I interrupt her to say, “I can’t do this anymore. I’m sorry.”
What is it? These deep feelings within lie quietly for days and then weeks and eventually months. Unexpectedly, they are no longer dormant.
I don’t want those feelings.
This is the hard eucharisteo – giving thanks when the gift gives grief. I have within me the experiences of losing a child, coping with grief. I can share those experiences with others who walk the same valley. But it has taken me a long time to be able to share those experiences without pulling me through the valley again.
Did I give thanks after that phone call? No, it didn’t even occur to me. And yet now I see that I can give thanks for some hard things.
This quote. This makes sense.
“When you finally get to the mountain top, give thanks for the valley you’ve just been through. Because you will almost certainly go there again. And again it will be hard, but it will be good.”
The Mitford Bedside Companion, Jan Karon, p. 50