Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Part 1: The awkward humanness of the heart.

This is a tricky post to tackle… 

I am learning how to live and to love again. These two seem to go hand in hand. In this process, I feel both the awkwardly human journey of reviving a broken heart, as well as the beautiful spiritual journey of God making all things new I've decided to write about each "layer" somewhat separately for the sake of my own processing. So first, the soulful layer, the awkward humanness of my broken heart :)

How does a heart that's been shattered by grief learn to love again?? How does a life that has both lived and ended in catastrophic loss, pick up the pieces to chart a new course?

To open myself up again to loving, is to embrace the possibility of great pain. The heart has learned many lessons on its journey through grief. It could love again, and he could die. Anything could happen. The possibility of loss/death is a post-grief reality. I could be shattered into widowhood again, for a second time! How would I survive it? Could I ever survive it? The heart wrestles with these questions, even when the mind already knows the answer... 

To open myself up again to living, is to embrace the probability of further suffering. Life will always include trouble (Jn 16:33). Blessing and suffering will always intersect somewhere... Life will move in a continued rhythm of both gains and losses, joys and sorrows. Is my soul stretched enough? Wide enough to endure? (God's grace is sufficient) (2 Cor 12:9) Is it enlarged enough to have survived catastrophic loss and still embrace a new future? A new life? With new blessings and new sorrows to come?  

After catastrophic loss, the broken heart knows and wrestles with these two things: 
1) That the unspeakable pain of grief is the worst evil a person will ever know… 
2) But also, that life is a gift and must be lived, no matter the cost.

Wrestling with these two "heart-truths" (in my understanding) is what often leads a widow(er) to do a number of "crazy" things… These heart-truths are enough to turn old priorities on their head. To change up what was once a solid system of values and beliefs, now a heap of useless scraps. The old lens of seeing and perceiving life is smashed and broken, a useless tool. A new lens is sought and formed, through which to see and perceive the world, life, and relationships. In this lens, suffering and the fragility of life are basic known facts that further impact life decisions. 

Many times, I have heard people criticize a widow(er)'s wild decisions after grief. Often, people do not understand that "wild" and "crazy" is an almost inevitable follow-up to death. The heart is in such a state that it will either fly or die. It will either lurch itself forward, awkwardly and dangerously, grasping at hope and the promise of a future, or it will shrivel up in fear and agony. There is no more luxury for the "normal" in between. The bereaved gets to choose between fly or die. Thrive or shrivel. 

After death, life and love do come again. But they come with an undercurrent of loss and terrifying vulnerability… And this vulnerability often leads to one extreme or another: either a radical leap towards life, or a surrender to fear.
How can one walk steady and sure in this state of vulnerability? What can one do in this wretched sea of turbulent grief without a Stronghold? Without an Anchor, to keep ones course secure and established?? 

If I did not have a Sovereign Hand guiding my step, holding me steady, guarding my heart… Keeping me when all else falls away, I would surely by now have leapt off of a cliff, into one form of death or another. 

Praise be to God, who is my Anchor in the storm, my Stronghold in the winds of adversity, my shield against the forces of evil that seek my total destruction…! 
(Heb 6:19; Ps 9:9; Gen 15:1)

More of that to come… 

1 comment:

  1. Fly or die. Thrive or shrivel. I absolutely believe you that the choices really are that dramatic. I'm alongside you cheering "Fly and Thrive", my friend. :)