I will be with you in the dark places without forcing the sunshine on you.
Then I wrote a novel called The Blue Sky and the Yellow Sun. I saw myself as a yellow sun.
There are two kinds of darkness. One was something I was taught to avoid. Obviously, we should stay away from dark magic, evil influences, or the oppression of sin.
But there are also dark, hard times on earth--those valleys of the shadow of death. And we shouldn't run away when a brother or sister is hurting in the middle of those times.
When I love someone, I will be there with them in those hard places, the darkness, but I won't force my sunshiney self on them. Romans says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn" (Romans 12:15 NIV).
Don't get me wrong. I love to be positive. I love to have a pretty little blog with yellow accents. I love smiling, laughing, and writing encouraging notes.
But another practice I love is listening to those who are hurting. I love to be a shoulder for the weeping. I love to sit in the silence and be there for another human being (or, if you are Belle, a beast).
Here are some ways we can walk through the dark places with our loved ones:
1. Listen. If they want to talk, let them. Listening is a lost art form. Pay attention, and try to put yourself in their shoes a little bit. This will develop your empathy and they will be able to grieve or wrestle in a healthy way.
2. Acknowledge. Admit to yourself that this is bigger than you. Acknowledge the fact that this is very hard for your loved one. Tell God you're overwhelmed. Being honest with yourself, your loved one, and God will keep you grounded.
3. Hold. Hold your tongue. Hold the Kleenex. Hold your hurting friend in a hug. Hold out hope to them. Hold their hand through the storm. Hold the burden they can't carry.
4. Love. No matter what they are dealing with, God calls you to love them. You don't have to love their struggles. You don't have to love the darkness they may be walking through. But you are called to love them--completely, fiercely, and with dedication.
So when the clouds threaten to hide the sun, be the rain that soothes their hurts.
Darkness will come. But we will be there for each other.