Restoring the Years the Locusts Have Eaten

31 Mar

In Hamlet’s very famous speech, “To be or not to be…” he asks, whether it’s more noble to “suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them?” At fifteen, Hamlet knew life wasn’t easy. For anybody. Suffering it seems is pretty universal. Yet for each of us, our pain is so unique, so individual, there are times we feel completely alone in it – most likely because ultimately, we are the only ones who can feel it. 

At the end of a sermon on suffering, my pastor cited the scripture that talks about “restoring the years the locusts have eaten.” This passage resonated deeply for me because on the brink of forty, I look back over the years of my life and clearly see where the locusts took over.  

Like with crops being eaten with bugs, we see signs of decay when things are not working in our lives. In my family of origin, a key marker came when our most beloved pets died in quick succession of one another; the deaths symbolic of a systemic collapse. I also saw signs reflected in my parents’ appearances: With mother, smeared lipstick, glazed over eyes and the orange jumpsuit she had to wear in jail. With father, blue eyes that went from sparkling to dazed. 

While my friends were moving on with their lives – marrying, buying homes, having children, I fought desperately for mine. On the brink of forty, I see the harvest I lost. I feel my body at times as a landscape of sorrow. But I also know the beauty and humility that comes with healing. It is not my place to know the will of the Lord. The logic of his Grace. I take inventory of the profound love around me in the form of family and friends and I know God is restoring the years the locusts have eaten. I see the Phoenix rising from her ashes. I acknowledge Spring. The growth of new buds on flowers long dormant. 

I had a student once ask in a psychology class I taught, “Are there some hurts that never go away?” And I replied, “Yes. There are some hurts that never go away…” But they can be integrated.

Joy does cometh in the morning.

2 Responses to “Restoring the Years the Locusts Have Eaten”

  1. bub April 1, 2009 at 12:41 pm #

    I’m so glad to see this. What a great post! “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” Psalm 34:17.

  2. lisesletters April 1, 2009 at 2:05 pm #

    Thank you, Bub. You taught me an important lesson. Shalom.

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