The Sorrows That Push Us Forward

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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In my early twenties, I met Betty. It was September 1972; we were in college, waiting before class. We were both early, standing in the hall, and as I looked at this young woman, I could not know that within her was a destiny I could not imagine.

We dated for two years, Betty and I, and it was the most sorrowful experience in my life. I fell in love with her. I brought her to New York plays; we hiked together, attended classes together. When I asked Betty to marry, she quietly said, “Chris, you are too good for me.”

I was by then a graduate student at Columbia University, and lonely and sad. Betty did not love me. Some part deep inside of me was missing. How do we fill the emptiness when we are so emotionally wounded?

In the dormitory at Columbia, I knew many young men filled it with sex, drugs, and drinking. I just wished to be loved. I was in my room, and I heard a street fair out my window. It was a Saturday morning, and while I could not see the fair, I heard the music weave around the blocks, a steady, exotic beat of steel drums and trumpets, and I wrote my first poem, and that felt good. I wrote and wrote and wrote, and I have not stopped writing ever since.

To this day, losing Betty remains the most sorrowful experience of my life. Yet that loss knocked me into a consciousness I may well not have reached otherwise.

God guided me to Betty. His plan called for my going through a journey to find my way. We find our way by the sorrows that push us forward.

When we have a lonely heart, we try and fill it up with something. In good time, I met Roe, fell in love all over again, married, became a father three times, and I have not stopped writing.

Looking back, I realize that because of the sorrow of losing Betty, I knew clearly the joy of Roe and my children, and I discovered that I was a writer, which was probably God’s plan all along.

I tell my own children now, “Do not be afraid when you are lonely or sad. From your sorrow will come a light, a path, and a way to happiness. Just trust in God, and be good people.”