I will turn the darkness into light before you
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do,
I will not forsake you.
Isaiah 42: 16
I saw this verse today, and it struck a chord. In some ways it seems both a promise and a definition of life right now as I travel an unfamiliar path trying to make the rough places smooth. I must confess to not always knowing how to do that.
Life is a series of beginnings and endings. Beginnings, as with the birth of a new baby, are joyful, a promise of things to come. Little about welcoming a baby into the world causes sadness, and one can find joy in bathing, changing diapers, feeding, satisfying whatever needs the little one has, all of which contributes to a feeling of being so necessary.
The same cannot always be said of endings. While similar attentions as those given a baby may be required, it is hard to feel the same joy when the person being cared for is a parent, a once vital person whose life has dwindled to little more than existence. And, in the blink of an eye, traces of a life that was can be erased.
Never have the differences between beginnings and endings been more clear to me than now. What a special pleasure and privilege it is to help a daughter with a newborn and his young siblings. The path is light, the road smooth, the job familiar.
The same is not true when I leave that environment and go to check on my mother. I comb her hair, help with her bath, trim her nails, straighten her clothes, remind her to eat. This is the more unfamiliar path, one I never dreamed of following and one that is often rough and without light. No matter how difficult the path, to her I make the same promise as the one in Isaiah: I will not forsake you.
How fortunate to be a part of beginnings and endings. They are what help us become who we are.
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