For years I trudged through my days as I struggled with grief, with the acceptance of life that wasn’t supposed to be this way, with general discontentment and exhaustion from trauma and trials that never seemed to end. Each day looked different. Some days were better than others, but the majority seemed to be defined by struggling nonetheless.
But also present was a deep, incessant longing for the colors to register again and stir my soul awake.
In the best-selling book, The Shack, the main character endures a devastating tragedy that leaves him with this “constant companion” he refers to as “The Great Sadness.” The second chapter of the book describes his life with The Great Sadness:
“He ate, worked, loved, dreamed, and played in this garment of heaviness…trudging daily through the murky despondency that sucked the color out of everything.”
When I read those words, I don’t know that I have ever related so much to a fictional character. I still remember what it was like 10 years ago, after being uprooted from all I had ever known and moving to southern Alabama and then experiencing the deaths of my child and father. I remember sitting at my kitchen table, absent from my body, staring out the window. Outside, a sea of vast, vibrant blue covered the sky. The yellow sun shone hot and bright on the green grass-covered hill. Our pink azaleas crawled toward the light. I knew what I was supposed to be seeing, and yet… the colors didn’t register. It was as though I’d gone colorblind to my life. Someone had slipped a veil of gray over my eyes.
I spent the past ten years desperately seeking Jesus. Many moments in this state of gray-living spent in lament crying out to Him. Many desperate prayers prayed for breakthrough and rescue. But there was no simple answer. No overnight miracle. The journey has been messy and ugly and long and hard. But there has been growth and slow transformation. My roots have deepened. The colors returned.
I have come home not only to Jesus but to myself and my life.
Maybe you’ve lost a child or loved one too and are struggling to figure out life without them. Maybe you haven’t experienced such a loss or a specific tragedy, but maybe it’s the monotony and stressors in your life sucking the color from it. The details of our stories will always be different, but our experiences are human and shared.
If you can relate and find yourself trudging through a life void of color, lean in.
There is hope and life and fullness available now–wherever we are, no matter how gray and bleak the landscape of our life seems.
We might feel stuck, but God never leaves us where we are. He is always at work in us. He has come to give us life, here and now, in the struggling, in the suffering.
Our circumstances may not change, but we can change how we’re seeing and living our life. We can live it well even when it seems impossible. Battles may need to be fought, yes, but we do not walk or fight alone. We can come alive to our life and find our life worth living right where we are.
If this resonates with you…
My NEW Life Worth Living journal (available now on Amazon) is for you.
Stay tuned for future posts. I’ll be writing about the importance of naming and bringing awareness to the struggles we have, how we can struggle well and find growth and overcoming, the transforming power of focusing on what is good and practicing gratitude, and the importance of mindfulness and being present to in our lives.
For more on this topic of longing to come alive to your life, let me recommend:
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