Sue to Mark 5, part 2
That is the one and only thing that has given me joy since Roger's death. Keats said "A thing of beauty is a joy forever" and I'm finding out how true that is. Natural beauty, especially, is medicine for me. On the trip, we stayed near Austin in the hill country and took several hikes out into the wilds. This spring's wildflowers have been phenomenal -- lush spots of gold and pink everywhere, white waving thistles, butterfly pirouettes, rippling light and shadow. Even the air -- so penetrated and warmed with perfumed light - is a thing of beauty. All of that means something! Something beyond our hopes and our suffering, but something that includes it and transforms it. It is a giant arrow of praise pointing upward, and I am somehow an agent of it. That praise going through me is an absolute good and that is where I feel joy. I always cry, then. The tears are rich -they include my hurt and pain, but they are also full of the everything-ness of existence, the mystery of God's ubiquitous mind, the depth of His love, the vast, unthinkable reach of His power.
Speaking of tears . . . I know that constriction of the heart set off by music or fatigue or memory - that feeling as if your eyes were thawing and melting. You are right to allow yourself those moments, to indulge them. They are necessary, natural, real . . . and good. I suspect that God may even engineer the breakage of the dam from time to time. He knows we need the release and the cleansing of tears. That's why you didn't hear the theme song to Apocalypse Now at that moment!
You keep speaking of gold being refined. Someday I will share with you some of the many poems and novels I have loved and taught which use that very image. Looking back, I am confident that the Lord led me to the study of literature to give me an additional source of comfort and philosophical help "for such a time as this". Like you, I have no doubt that gold is indeed being refined.