I found in my files columns which were written 40 or 50 years ago. If you remember reading this one, you must be 50 years old.
It appeared in the Rome News-Tribune:
“You can’t evade sorrow. The powerful engines roared as we sailed along through the air. We were aboard one of those slow airplanes that travel about 300 miles an hour, and we were three miles high. It was a lovely spring day, and the beautiful white clouds floated below. We had just been served a wonderful turkey dinner with all the trimmings.
Suddenly, the giant ship lunged toward the earth. Trays of food and coffee were flying through the air. It seemed like an eternity before the pilot had the huge ship under control. We were all covered with turkey and gravy, ice cream, chocolate sauce and salad dressing. Now, to say that I was not frightened would be less than the truth.
“After the excitement was over, the big plane continued sailing toward its destination. I heard many remarks from the passengers. They ranged from, ‘I need a drink’ to ‘Thank God it’s over.’ The stewards and stewardesses were busy recording the names and addresses of all the passengers. We were all grateful for two things: first, we landed safety; and then, no one was seriously hurt.
“After this unforgettable flight, I began to think how much this trip resembles life. We sail along in the sunshine of happiness and victory for a while without the storms of sorrow and defeat. Then, all of a sudden, we find ourselves in the midst of a violent storm. Our dreams are shattered, sickness comes, or death strikes in the ranks of those we love, and leaves us with an indescribable loneliness and a broken heart.”
I frequently tell people that you cannot avoid sorrow on life’s journey. It is as much a part of life as joy. When tragedy visits those we love, our hearts will be broken. A broken heart is really an expression of our love. If you never love anyone, you will probably never know the pains of a broken heart, but at the same time, you will be the most miserable person in all the world. A broken heart is the price life calls upon us to pay for the ability to love. I, for one, do not feel that the price is unbearable. We cannot detour around sorrow, but we can face it with hope and courage. The only bridge over which you can cross the deep chasm of sorrow is faith in God.
After the dramatically sudden death of the wife of Arthur J. Gossip, he said, “You people in the sunshine may believe this faith, but we in the shadows must believe it. We have nothing else.”
When Dr. Gossip mounted to preach to his congregation the first time after his wife’s premature death, he said, “I do not think you need to be afraid of life. Our hearts are very frail and there are places where the road is very steep and lonely, but we have a wonderful God. Put your faith in Him. He will heal your hurts.”
Robert V. Ozment is a retired United Methodist minister.