Jerry Sittser recounts a dream he had after his traumatic loss:
I dreamed of a setting sun. I was frantically running west, trying desperately to catch it and remain in its fiery light and warmth. But I was losing the race. The sun was beating me to the horizon and was soon gone. I suddenly found myself in the twilight. (p. 41)* In the twilight he turns to see the suffocating darkness approaching from the east. He is exhausted, but terrified. Everything in him wants to continue west, chasing that last bit of warmth and light from the sun.
A few days after his dream, Jerry (we're on a first name basis at this point) learned of a poem that says though East and West seem farthest removed on a map, they eventually meet on a globe (p. 41)*. Later someone else said to him, the quickest way for anyone to reach the sun and the light of day is not to run west, chasing after the sun, but to head east, plunging into the darkness until one comes to the sunrise. (p. 42)*
Every day I am conflicted by this longing to chase after my past, run after that last bit of warmth found in the memories of my past life and marriage. But the sun is setting and darkness looms. It reminds me of another widow who wrote, I knew that I could not allow my past to overwhelm the present if I was going to move forward. (I am not home, but will come back to credit this source later.) The future seems so barren and lonely. Living a life that few around me understand and can relate to. Raising my children alone. Facing everything alone... (The community of friends and family makes such a difference!! But it does not fill the empty side of the bed or the silence of my house when everyone else goes home...)
I have no desire to plunge east. I have no anticipation for the coming sunrise. I scarcely believe it to be real. But, I must plunge east! I will plunge east because my daughters deserve a full and happy life. I will plunge east because it honors my husband and all that he stood for...
But mostly, I will plunge east because God's Word is alive and active in me (Heb 4:12). Because he has given me every spiritual blessing under heaven (Eph :13). Because he has given me His grace that is sufficient, and power to be perfected in my weakness (2 Cor 12:9). Because His love never fails (1 Cor 13:8). I plunge east because I cannot deny my God. To sit in hopelessness would be just that, denying Him, who He is, and all that He's done for me.
I miss my husband. I want to chase the setting sun. Father, carry me eastward...
*A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss, by Jerry Sittser. (I'm not finished it yet, but, so far, I HIGHLY recommend this book!!!)