Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Poetry of Pain

Most of the magic in my life has happened when my heart is shattered
Yesterday I was bracing myself for impact.
The exhaustion and weakness and subtle sadness were there, but I had this idea that if I could just keep pushing, just keep moving forward, I could narrowly escape their grasp.
After all, it's not supposed to hurt anymore, right? Or maybe it's supposed to hurt but only for them, not me.
It is in these moments I deny myself honesty. I put on the brave face of "I'm ok" and keep walking. Or I smile and say "It's a rough day" but don't actually allow myself to be cared for.
In the moments after supper, I snuck away to an upstairs room. It was the only place I found that was quiet, the smell of coffee beans still in the air. I curled up on the couch, looking out over the setting sun, and began to write.
I'd been in hiding for a while before he found me. All curled up there, I felt smaller than usual. He kept asking me what I was thinking and I didn't know. So many thoughts were inside my head, some loud and pressing others quiet and aching.
Randomly I would laugh, about something dark or something random. I think it's the body's way of coping, when you produce an excess amount of one emotion the body produces a great amount of the opposite emotion to counteract it.
In all of it I was feeling less and less like myself, but unable to fully understand where myself had gone.
He sat with me, and she came and brought with her Kraft Dinner, which we ate on the couch straight from the pot with two spoons while listening to really bad pop songs.
And something about this made it all ok.
In this moment I wasn't trying to justify what I felt, or hide it, but instead I was sitting directly in the middle of it.
I had written earlier that I felt like I was trying to hold both the light and the dark, but these two conflicting emotions cannot sit with each other and so I am forced to pick one, but even though I pick one it doesn't mean the other doesn't exist.
Just because I choose to focus on the positive story doesn't mean my heart doesn't break over the darkness. And just because from time to time I must sit in the darkness and allow it room to exist it doesn't mean the light is not just over there.
My friends make me honest. They sit with me in my darkness, and feed me and laugh with me until I'm ok again, until the shadow has passed. They make me brave, brave enough to sit in this moment and not try to change it, or shelter myself or anyone else from it.
And I don't know if they will ever know how grateful I am for that tiny moment.

He will change your heart of stone into a heart of flesh. That sounds exciting. But instead of saying a heart of flesh you say a vulnerable heart. It sounds less exciting. And if you want to define vulnerability as the capacity of being hurt. so I'll change your heart of stone which is protective into a heart where you will be capable of being hurt, that sounds less exciting

This morning in Sunday School we made blessings. I carefully chose a word, a blessing, for each of my precious girlies. And then, as a last minute addition, I allowed them to pick a word for me. Each of them picked something they saw embodied in me, something they wished for me.

It makes total sense that Jesus would be the Son of God because people would want love to be like unicorns and rainbows. And so then you send Jesus and people go "Oh, love is hard. Love is sacrifice. Love is eating with the sick, it's breaking bread. Love is trouble. Love is rebellious
Love is not a victory march, its a cold and broken hallelujah

Love is found in the moments when people show up. It's blessings spoken over a tired heart by little girls with big eyes and bigger dreams. It's friends who come up just to eat Kraft Dinner and listen to stupid music on YouTube and laugh with you. It's saying yes.
Love is pain too. It's messy. It's the capability for being hurt and when love ends it can feel like the world should stop turning.
Love is a cold and broken hallelujah. It's not always easy.
Entering into another person's brokenness isn't easy. Watching the people you love make bad decisions hurts.
But love, I think, is pretty magical. It's poetry - the only kind I know how to write these days.
It's showing up and saying "How can I help?" and "I'm here."
Love is poetry. Pain is poetry. This week I got to experience both.
And the collision of love and pain in the same instant, let me tell you something, is pretty magical.

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