For many long grey years, I played to the bidding of a person who loved herself to the point of excluding God. I lived in troubled compliance in her world, and she lived gleefully in mine. Marionette and puppeteer.
My mistress stood sentry between God and I. She proclaimed herself the doorway to Christ, except that a walk through her portal never led to God. Through a serpentine meandering in endless false lights and upheavals, it always led back to her.
One day, an angel came to my soul, bearing a gift ribboned in the purple of sorrow. Opening my door to the angel’s weeping, I learned a grief known to many others. My jealous mistress tugged hard on the strings, to jerk my gaze back to her. But my mourning became a powerful grace. It was the sword which the angel wielded to keep her beyond the gate, where her shadow fell too far to mark me.
And by grace too, my tears were transformed into dew lights and vessels, which illuminated and carried me along the waters of seeking to make sense of this sorrow. Had grace been absent from my grieving, I would have rapidly been lost in the pit of self-pity.
It was the first of journeys I navigated unfettered. For the very first time, I was journeying on my own, towards the true God, through the portal of grace that did not seem at all like graces should – all bright and iridescent with shimmering hope.
All who knew of my pain, even I, only saw my Cross, not the grace, for the sorrow given to me was a veiled grace. The pain was the gift of heavenly luminescence meant to guide my soul to God. But the luminescence was hidden from curious minds to protect me from confusion that can arise from too many onlooker-interpretations.
This grace did not come with the expected joy-glitter of a thousand diamonds. Hence it was long years before my spirit was ready to see it for what it was.
And that is how grace often is. Seldom clearly discernible. Often misted over. Veiled. Hidden within the Cross.