Your heart is broken.
There’s something about experiencing loss that changes everything about you.
You are no longer the person you used to be, its impossible to go back.
You know something now that you never used to before, which is the gaping, aching hole that insists on contracting everytime you witness hurt… near or far.
Something shifts inside of you when you experience the gut-punch of loss, whether it be through death, divorce, job loss, shaken security, health issues, rape, molestation… you name it.
The hardest thing I’ve had to do is let myself embrace the pain, to actually feel it. Somehow it didn’t all happen at once, thankfully, but it was still extreme. Still debilitating. And it continues to surface when I catch a glimpse of someone’s else’s heartache, even if its on the movie screen.
Do you know how long it took me to finally watch the Titanic after it came out? Years. And I have an annoyingly difficult time sitting still during tv shows my kids like to binge-watch on Netflix, like Parenthood.
Hard things that people go through that mimic mine are like red hot needles jabbing at my heart.
Reconciling that hard things are important to work through is highly distasteful, and the stress of enduring the loss combined with trying to keep our head above water has landed many of us smack dab into bed with depression.
Years of pushing the pain of my son’s death away eventually caught up with me when the girls were all in elementary school. I had been treading water as they grew from babies to toddlers, to little talking humans, but by the time they were all in school (I think Ruby was in pre-school), I can recall how it felt to lie in bed telling myself I really did have to get up though I felt like a constant heaviness hovered over top of me; dark, brooding, and unrelenting.
To have all the pieces of my life I had been so determined to hold together come crashing down into tiny, sharp shards of glass under my feet when I realized my marriage was over was probably the best thing that could have happened to me, considering.
Working through the pain, staring it in the face, albeit tentatively, and allowing it to change us is one of the bravest, and greatest things we can do. Because, whether we like it or not, life is fraught with pain, and most of us have dealt with its ugly countenance in one way or another.
We can blame God, turn from Him in anger, and do our best to numb the throbbing of our broken hearts with work, perfectionism, booze, sex, drugs/medication… but our hearts are still broken, even if we numb ourselves to it, so eventually we will either die from that broken heart in some way, or we will have to reckon with the consequences.
Choosing to look for how we can be stitched up, held, and healed as we wade through the awkward process of growing-through-it makes us warriors.
My heart still seizes during an emotional movie about loss, a news article about recent devastation, a story of pain… my first reaction is always to run and hide from it, so I don’t have to feel it, but I’m learning and getting better at it. I hate it, but I am growing.
The empty hole I carry inside me from burying my boy, saying goodbye to my dad too early, from floundering to raise a daughter with special needs and from an unhealthy, tempestuous, failed marriage sometimes feels so cold and stark. I feel the bite of the wind as it whistles through the gap and I note the ache that always follows.
I sometimes wonder what losses the woman at the well had faced when Jesus told her about who He was. I know that He is the water that will forever and always slake my thirst. His river never runs dry, and He binds my wounds and soothes my soul.
And even though I wish I didn’t have a hole, I know that I will always be thirsty for Him, because He made me that way. To need Him. I was made for Him.
To be with Him.
And He continues to walk with me through the process of pain and growth on a daily basis.
Do you have any idea how much I am learning about His unconditional love for me right now? To keep learning in new and strange ways how nothing I can do will ever be enough to warrant His love and acceptance.
Its been done for me.
He did it.
He sees me as perfect. As His beloved. Not as a washed up failure, who can’t seem to get it right. Makes me want to live up to that view He has of me…
May we always remember He is with us every step of the miserable yet wonderful way.
Because He wants to.