In light of recent events, this post is born out of great heartache and sadness. Recently, I have seen people throwing daggers into one another’s hearts, with the only intention to wound and destroy, as though there isn’t enough destruction in the world already. I asked myself over and over why are we causing each other so much pain, heaping it on as though the pit was a bottomless ocean. An all out campaign was launched against someone that I love. I have been caught in the crossfire. I find myself feeling undeniably raw, split wide open at the seams, the pulling, ripping, and tearing apart of my heart and the very fabric of my being.
The ache inside my heart is palpable. Even though I fully know that Goodness is always working, and always wins in the end, what are we to do in the interim? Do we fake joy and pretend that everything is okay now, because we know that it all works out in the end? Do we listen to the well meaning voices that say, “don’t let this steal your joy.” Do we slap on a smile so that the world can see the Jesus in us, perfectly undisturbed as the storms of life send our battered and bruised, limp and lifeless body’s crashing against the rocky shore? Is that the real meaning of joy?
What if we are missing something? What if beauty can only be found in brokenness? What if there is no light without darkness? What if there is no joy without sorrow? What if we allowed others into our own brokenness, giving them permission to be broken themselves. What if we gave up the illusion on perfection and invited others into our mess? What if we all stopped pretending everything is okay, even though it may not be, even though we know it will be one day? What if, instead, we allowed ourselves the time and space required to heal? What if we all begin to understand that some things aren’t meant to feel good AND ITS OK!
This past year in the writing of my book, I accidentally uncovered buried treasures deep within my soul. My journey began with me judging everything about the woman I once was, and sometimes still am. It was one thing to remember and come face to face once again with all the mistakes of my past, but knowing I am about to share them with the world is a whole other story.
Exposing myself to the world was arguably the hardest part, wondering what people would think when they read this or that, the parts of my life that I myself deemed ugly and unlovable. At one point, it proved to be too much and I ran as fast as I could to old coping mechanisms. My husband walked through the door and I walked out, on my way to the bar where I proceeded to get frightfully drunk. I learned very quickly that the only way to get through it was to feel all the discomfort.
Guys, I experienced our Creator in ways that I have never experienced Him before. His kindness towards me was just as palpable as the pain I felt.
We each have a journey and to judge our own, inevitably means that we will judge one another’s. As I pulled back the curtain of my own life, exposing all that was hidden behind the masks, a beautiful thing unfolded. Now, instead of wallowing in self-loathing and hatred when I mess up, when I lash out in anger, I ask myself what my heart is trying to tell me. What is in my heart that I am trying to avoid feeling. A little bit of digging exposes the underlying cause of my anger, whether it be hurt, loneliness, fear, overwhelm, and more often I find unhealed grief over the loss of something.
What if our expectations of who we think we should or shouldn’t be is exactly what holds us in the place we don’t want to be. I should feel this way. I shouldn’t feel that. I should do this better. I should be better by now. What if our emotions aren’t our enemy but in actuality our friend. What if they are the secret to unlocking the love and goodness within each of us?
This last week has shown me, as angry and hate-filled words fly through the air, like arrows searching for any place to land. Behind every angry word that is spoken is a hurting heart that is crying out to be seen, felt, heard, and healed. Is anyone listening to their hearts anymore or have we demonized our hearts and emotions to the point that we can’t feel our own pain, let alone the pain of others? After all, the heart is wicked and deceitful above all things, right?
What if we are missing something again? What if the kingdom of Heaven is just as upside down as Jesus says it is? Jesus Himself was said to be a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. I’m finding that when I honor my own grief, sadness, anger, and despair; these emotions lose their grip upon my life and joy comes back much quicker. In turn, I have a better understanding and ability to honor those same emotions in others.
Another lesson I have learned this past week has taught me that there are many forms of grief that occur from more than just the death of a loved one; the grief of hopes dashed to the ground; disappointment from what was, is, or could have been; the death of a dream not yet fulfilled; loss of a job, a friendship, and even hope. In our case it seemed it was all of the above and then some, as my husband lost not only his job, but his reputation as well. His one and only dream came crashing to the ground like a meteor on fire, destroying everything in its path, shaking the earth beneath our feet.
The only thing that has ever helped me to overcome the destructive forces of my emotions was when I finally began to honor them.
I may not know what you’re struggling with, but am well acquainted with the struggle. All I can do is share my journey in hopes that we can struggle together, and then find the joy that awaits us on the other side of the struggle… together.
What if, instead of only hearing angry words, we chose to see the hurting hearts behind them?
What if… connecting with our own hearts is the answer to reconnecting with our humanity and each other? I certainly don’t have all the answers, just a bunch of what ifs to ponder…