Child of Sorrow
This poem was originally written in response to some poems I read from a woman who was going through deep depression. These expressed in a very poignant way the agony of mind she was going through.
It deals with a part of my own testimony – the way in which I like many others, though in a more extreme way than most, had hardened myself against my own emotions; and in so doing crippled myself to an extent where I was no longer capable of feeling for anyone, or of undoing the damage I had done to myself.
The way in which Jesus has released my emotions since I became a Christian, and continues to teach me in this area, is one of the things for which I am most deeply grateful to him.
I read your poems, and I understood.
– Not all of course; for who can merge themselves
Fully into another’s hopes and fears, but God?
And yet I saw that this which has befallen you
Did not happen suddenly, but reaches back
Through long years of hurt, and sorrow,
And hopes unfulfilled.
Though a child no more, yet still you are a child,
– child of sorrow –
Hurting and longing for that warm embrace that enfolds you,
Tells you all is well and, in the telling, makes it so.
– And it does not come. How could it come again?
I did a strange thing this morning.
Not great, gulping, choking sobs, but tears
That welled from the corners of my eyes,
Blurring vision, and trickled slowly down.
I might have wiped it in a moment,
And the tears and the moment would have been no more.
But to me, that teardrop running down my cheek
Was a jewel worth more than diamonds.
It was a testimony.
I cried much as a child, of course,
When every hurt and pain appeared to me
The breaking of the world.
‘Cry-baby’ they called me.
‘Grow up’ they said.
And their words fastened on my heart like wire barbs
And grew until they had become iron bars.
‘I’ll grow up,’ I vowed. ‘I won’t be hurt again.’
And I made my heart a castle,
My intellect its king.
Emotion I banished I know not where,
Until even diligent searching could not find it out
Or reveal to me that feeling which men call love.
Such was I when Jesus found me.
– Cut off even from my own true self.
He undid my folly, quickly at first
And then more gently, bit by bit,
As those imprisoned, stunted parts of me
Began, uncertainly, to grow again.
So it was this morning that I cried
As we sang his praises,
And I thought once more upon the Father God
And on his Son,
And on his all-consuming love,
Which takes the child of sorrow, heals their hurt
And in causing them to grow
Makes them a child of joy again!
Kevin King, 15/2/87