I hadn’t realized I had been in search of my smile. Not the smile I show to the world, my smile. The one that tells me I’m happy and joyful. Finding my smile again has been a long and gradual process. Without thinking, I find myself observing small things that are right in front of me; the vivid orange-colored tulips I bought to brighten my space, the howling of the wind in the trees, the flickering shadows of the trees that sway and dance around the walls of my bedroom at night, comforting and inviting me to see the magic I had thus far too grief-stricken to see. I was doing laundry and humming and although I was rusty, melody and music moved through my soul imploring me to put on music and dance. So I did. Happiness snuck through the window while I was waving goodbye to grief as it left through the back door.
Now I am sitting at my desk, and I am reminded that grief is a season, a long, painful, terrifying, dark, and foreboding season. Beauty, art, music, laughter, pleasure, and joy fade into the inky darkness of silence. Thank God, in time the sadness, horror and sorrow cease its daily onslaught on my broken spirit and the steady beat of my heart is the metronome steadily guiding me through the desolate, murky, and perilous forest. Loss has changed me, scarred, rebuilt, and transformed me. I no longer resent or resist the unrelenting pain that dogged me like a second skin. I finally turned around and faced it and although I haven’t entirely learned all the lessons yet, I find beauty in the depth and breadth of redemption, grace and in the inevitable rebirth of new seasons and new beginnings. I can look back now and see that I have traveled a long way through dusty, uneven, unforseen terrain that buckled my knees, broke my heart, and seared my soul, but I still made it back to the light and home to the people I love most in the world.