Everyday Spirituality

Leaving the Dark Forest

Just on the Edge

~~~ Part 3 ~~~

One day as you are walking you notice something is different. You are no longer fighting with the dark forest. Either you get to the other side of the forest or the forest itself lifts from around you. You gradually begin to see brightness. The heavy forest foliage is thinning…tiny beams of light are making their way to you.

Not sure if it will last you search for the source of the light. Sometimes the light and the darkness dance with each other. Sometimes they play tug-a-war with each other.

It is clear that the light is becoming stronger. The light wants to lead you to a place of even greater light. Part of you finds comfort in the dark forest. Part of you detests the dark forest. Part of you wants to hold on to the somber feelings of the forest. Part of you wants to run joyfully through the field of flowers singing at the top of your lungs.

You eventually come to that moment when you realize that the person you miss and love wants you to experience joy. They want you run through the fields of flowers. They want you to hear the birds singing again. They want you experience the joy of a butterfly in flight.

I want to leave this dark forest behind. It has been exactly one year…365 days since we lost a special person. She is beckoning me to come be with her. She is not in the dark forest. She is part of the light. She is the child running through the wild flowers with total abandonment and joy. She is in the melody line of the bird’s song. She rides on the wings of the soaring butterfly.

If I close my eyes

I can almost feel her beside me.

To leave the dark forest is honoring a loved one’s memory much more than staying there.

You cannot really live in the dark forest. That is why it is so dark; life in there barely exists.

You cannot grow amidst decaying debris.

Emerging from the forest initially feels odd. This forest of grief has become a way of existence…notice I did not say living…just existence. When you come out and begin living again…living in the light…living in the joy you feel clumsy.

But when it happens and you leave the dark forest you keep walking deeper into the light where the flowers are blowing in the breeze. I know this is where I should be…this feels right…I can feel the sun smiling and warming me heart. I can hear the bees buzzing from flower to flower. I can enjoy the freedom of the butterflies.

I can appreciate the beauty surrounding us. I can hold her with me every day. She is a part of my heart and not even the dark forest can take that away.

As St. Paul wrote so well…Love endures all things, believes all things….Love never fails. Recently while sitting quietly in church I experienced a rush of deep peace and joy entering into my body. It was so strong that it almost had a tangible effect on my body. For a moment time was suspended. I wanted to hold on to the feeling but it was gone almost as quickly as it had appeared.

I firmly believe it was my friend letting me know it was time…

If you are grieving over the loss of a loved one I urge you to trust deep in your soul. Trust that you loved one does not want you to be sad. Believe your loved one wants you out in the sunshine. The dark forest is no place to build a permanent dwelling.

I look forward to the days ahead as the dark forest gets farther and farther back in the distance. This journey has changed me forever. If nothing else I now have a much better understanding of the whole process.

We all experience deaths in our lives all the time.

Sometimes these deaths are not even people we love. You can experience death in a relationship, even a broken promise. Writing about this process carried me to the edge of the forest. Writing kept me grounded while enduring the dark forest. Writing encouraged me to keep moving on.

In Memory of my dear friend.

I will always love you.

May you dance among the angels forever!

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Comments on: "Leaving the Dark Forest" (3)

  1. Your best one yet…this really touched me.

  2. O! Praise our faithful and all-knowing God! He is rejoicing! I am rejoicing! Saint Betty
    is rejoicing . . . with you . . . in a spirit of love and thanksgiving! As a child, I spent all my
    summers in the hills & forests of Pennsylvania with a great uncle, named Brose. We would
    take off in the morning with nothing but the shoes (or sandals) on our feet, and spend
    the day wandering beneath the wonderful woods and wonderful fields of forests and fields!
    My great uncle knew how to find God’s provision and how to be alert to any dangers. He
    could “smell danger” a mile away. He could always find a spring of fresh water to drink from.
    And, we always found fresh berries for a pie, fresh clean dandelion for a salad with hot
    dressing made with bacon, and plenty of sassafras root to munch on or take home.
    From 5 to 15, the summer trips with him to the rolling hills, watching the trains in the hills
    across the valleys, were highlights of my life. I was so blessed!!! In my memory, the
    “forests” were the best places of all, where God was always, and His provision was always
    perfect! May God always protect you, fulfill His promises to you, bring you to a place of
    healing and hope and a new vision of His plan for you . . . while He joyfully dances with
    your dear sister-in Christ, Betty!! Thank you for sharing your deep feelings with us all!
    With much love and thanksgiving, Nancy

  3. Welcome back to the light and the flowers in the fields…… We love you…..

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