Last week this card was posted on Postsecret auf Deutsch, the German Postsecret site. I find the original Postsecret to be kind of gimmicky and predictable, but Postsecret auf Deutsch is new enough and German enough that it is still fresh and interesting.
I made this card over three years ago, by adding the text to a photo I had taken of a sunrise. The verse is Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted,” which is also the opening text of Brahms’ German Requiem, one of my absolute favorite works of music. I like to translate the German verse literally: “blessed are those who carry sorrow”. I took it on as a sort of theme verse for my life. I have carried sorrow, and there was a time when the promise of this verse was the only thing I could hang on to. When I made that card I was in the thick of struggle and suffering, and I needed it as a tangible promise. I assumed that I would always carry that sorrow; I thought that my suffering and grieving would never end, and the most I could hope for was to be comforted in my sorrow. It seemed like the comfort that I wanted was so little and yet so unreachable.
For three years I looked at that card every day. Even after I became an atheist, even after I moved a couple of times and left my bibles and other religious items behind, I still kept that card framed in my apartment.
Then one day I decided that the card was moot and I no longer needed it. I was being comforted from the sorrow that I carried, but in a different way and on a completely different wavelength from what I had imagined when I made that card and took that verse as my mantra. It is still significant to me because of the hope it gave me at a time when religion was the wavelength of sustenance that I needed. I didn’t want to just discard it. So I sent it to Germany, because the German language has also been a source of sustenance for me.
I didn’t realize how far I’ve come until I was watching a movie recently where a woman was weeping, wounded, and mourning as if her soul depended on it. I recognized it deeply because I have wept and mourned like that– what seems like a long time ago. I have spent entire days and weeks lost in my own tears. Seeing an expression of despair that touched on the degree of despair that I had at one time, seeing it as an outsider and not being pulled down by it, I made a discovery: I have made it through to the other side.