It was the middle of the day and Grace was in bed. She lay with her comforter wrapped snugly around her aching body and pulled up close to her face. She rolled onto her side and the fat tears that had been pooling in her eyes fell languidly, soaking her pillow. She hugged her arms close to her heart and stared at the invisible Healer who lay shapelessly beside her.
She ran through the list of worries that were currently ransacking her mind, trashing every effort she made to rest. Then, quickly and effortlessly, darker thoughts emerged. The pain. The suffering. Betrayals and fear. Self-hatred and self-pity. She closed her eyes and told herself to breathe. Choose life, she told herself. Choose gratitude.
She opened her eyes again, searching his silent presence for answers.
“You define yourself by the things you have suffered,” He said quietly.
She knew He was right. Every milestone that stood, casting its shadow on the path of her life, marked a moment of pain. When someone had betrayed her; when someone had died; when someone had abandoned her.
This made her angry. It hurt her pride to think of herself as a victim.
“Am I a victim?” He asked.
She took in a breath. “No,” she answered. “But that’s different. You chose to die—for the good of all mankind. This is completely different.”
“Is it?” He asked kindly, waiting for her to assemble her jumbled thoughts.
“You tell me,” she said, her eyes burning with fresh tears.
“Do not define yourself by what you have suffered, child,” He said after a moment. “Define yourself by how you responded to that suffering. Define yourself by the light you cast because of it.”
An image formed in her mind, unbidden. A fist-sized gemstone, perhaps a diamond. The edges were cut and it reflected brilliant, almost blinding light, in every direction.
“When your daughter died, soon you learned to see the world with greater understanding of what you couldn’t see before. You learned that there is a great beyond that is more real and so much closer than you ever could have known. And you learned the value of the other daughters who would be given to you in time. You value them now, more than you ever would have before.
“Years after your high school sweetheart had abandoned you, you learned your value. You learned to take back the power you had given him to define your worth and give it to Me. You learned that you are valuable beyond measure because of the loss.
“Suffering has created opportunities for you to grow and learn and to be transformed,” He said, almost in a whisper. “You have learned that Love conquers fear; that forgiveness releases captives; that mercy triumphs over judgement.
“Do not think of the chisel, my love, think of the light you cast because of it.”