Silent tears were creeping down her face, springing from bloodshot eyes weary from crying herself to sleep the night before. Her thin young body was stretched out on the bed in a melancholy manner, and sitting next to her it was hard not to be drawn into the sadness that engulfed her. I punctuated the long periods of silence with simple questions which were answered by a nod or a single sentence. After a necessary, but uncomfortably long, period of silence she finally spoke, “I’m not beautiful anymore.” At last — the truth. The painful burden born deep inside, having festered and grown with every stolen glance in the mirror, was finally out in the open. Her painful emotions of feeling robbed of youth, beauty and vitality where suddenly spoken out loud for someone other than herself to hear. And in the light of day the ominous beliefs she held lost much of their poisonous power. Left to her own self-assessment she had spiraled into such a state of depression and sadness that her perspective had been completely altered and she had drifted away from truth.
The resident and I sat on either side of her bed listening. We heard her words and her lack of words. We heard her cry for help, and her need to feel like a women again — loved and full of purpose. Over the next hour or so we discussed many things. Why. How. What next. I wish I had a way of depicting someones mood visually because I am sure that the stark contrast of this women’s mood at the beginning and then the end of the encounter would have been incredible! Her heart had been touched. Her spirit released from its self-imposed prison of pain. She could smile again. She could sleep deeply. She could live.
Proverbs 15:13, “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the sprit is broken.”