there is no greater agony.

everyone's laughing. we're sitting in a bar in downtown Baltimore; drinking, carrying on, enjoying a carefree Sunday afternoon. we're happy. I'm, happy. until that second someone makes an off-the-cuff drug reference, or nonchalantly mentions their "addiction" to something trivial. it happens all the time…a TV show, a food item, anything really. the conversation continues to flow fluidly, and I'm stuck in that second. that excruciatingly long dragged-on second. I can feel my face start to flush, I grow quiet and I even think about halting the conversation in it's tracks with an insensitive comment about my deceased, drug addicted brother. sometimes I think I'd just like to see their faces. I'd like to identify some sort of hurt in their expression so that maybe, maybe next time they think twice before making reference to something so seemingly inconsequential yet devastating hurtful. and other times, I'm just selfishly angry that they reminded me of a pain I try to hard to forget for a few moments each day. but then I remember that their discomfort, that squirm in your seat sensation, will last only a second - a minute at most - and mine, mine will last forever. my hurt is something that I carry with me, pushing it away - covering it up - pretending as though it isn't crawling up my throat for recognition - forever. and so, I swallow my sadness, chalk it up to a personal win that I was able to save face and not breakdown at a table full of friends and almost strangers. I just won a battle that they know nothing about. and that, that's grief.

I've learned that it never ends. it changes. it's not a place to stay, it's a passage. and it's most certainly not a sign of weakness or lack of faith, but merely the price of love. and while death may sting, the hardest part is waking up day after day and carrying the untold story inside of you. forgetting for a few mind numbing hours only to be reminded, with some menial joke or comment, the agony it is to bear his story, your pain. I can't imagine a day when it won't affect me the way it does now, but perhaps, with time I won't wince and cringe, but use it as an opportunity to throw up a prayer. with time.

but that's the nature of the storm. it refines you. the person you are when you're thrown in is not the same person you are when you walk out.

Jesus replied, "you don't understand now what I am doing, but someday you will." John 13:7