Even in gloom, there’s a bloom

Published 11:59 pm Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The morning was gloomy with overcast skies and a hint of drizzle falling. As I walked out on my deck, I felt that the weather kind of matched the emotion that has settled over south Alabama.

Every time I turned on the television at news time, there was another story about tragedy and death, about families mourning and communities grappling with questions about why things happen. Even here, miles removed from the events, people feel the sadness and do what they can to soothe it with donations to help those suffering loss.

All of these thoughts, this feeling of something out of place, swirled around inside of me on this misty, sunless day. I felt emptiness when I let my mind consider the awful thing that shattered the quiet life in three small towns.

It brought heaviness to my heart and a deep questioning to my soul. How, I wondered, does a human get to such a state of desperation? What kind of pain causes someone to reach a place of so much loneliness? And why does a person choose to make death the solution to the problem?

No answers to those questions came as I felt the soft drops of rain hitting my face. I closed my eyes letting feelings wash over me. Suddenly, the words of a Don Henley song popped into my head. He is singing about a man who took his own life and the lyrics express so well what I think must happen when someone chooses death over life.

“Somewhere he crossed a line and he was too much in this world.”

That is what the song says, and that must be the way people feel who enter that place from which they don’t return.

“Too much in this world, but what exactly does that mean,” I whispered to the gray sky.

Deep inside a voice whispered back.

“It is about being disconnected from hope. It is about believing there is nothing beyond the awful reality a person chooses to see. It is a decision that life in this world offers nothing but pain. Too much in this world.”

I thought more about that. Imagined what a dark place that must be, and I struggled to understand why someone in that awful pain would want to bring pain to others through his actions.

Again, no answers that offered comfort came to mind. Just at that moment when my heart felt so heavy, so sad, I opened my eyes and there it was shining in the midst of this cloudy day, one perfect white iris. It wasn’t there yesterday but appeared overnight and now offered its beauty to me.

I moved the iris to its new sunnier spot last year because it wasn’t producing any blooms. And now on this day, this gloomy sad morning, it opened itself inviting me to enjoy the wonder of its being.

I walked over to the flowerbed and stood quietly considering the glory of this plant, the miracle of it pushing itself out of the cold ground to drink in the light.

Things happen in this world. Things for which there seem to be no explanation and that only bring sadness and despair. Still in the midst of even the most awful pain, there is the miracle of life continuing, the beauty of spring and a world reborn from the depth of winter.

While that may not answer my questions, it does reconnect me to hope and that is blessing enough until the sun shines again.