What if, instead of turning once again to these default mechanisms so deeply ingrained, I simply let myself move towards this heart-rending pain and let it be.

It’s been a heart-breaking kind of week. The kind where your heart turns to lead and sinks to your feet leaving you to drag it around like a ball and chain. The kind where that leaden feeling seems, at the same time, to pull all the energy, life, joy and hope from your body and you’re left feeling bereft and a little bewildered. 

I spoke with a friend yesterday and realised some things about my broken heart. This particular heart-break comes often and is in response to someone else’s choices, choices over which I have no control. I am therefore rendered powerless, yes there it is – that inviting, awful, I-don’t-want-you-again word. POWER-LESS. 

My sense of powerlessness has led me to engage in all sorts of internal wrangling all to do with fixing, alleviating and solving a situation over which I have no control. Here are some of my ideas…

  • Get an advocate, someone who can stand up for me, find out why this person is being how they are, put in a good word, make them see it from my side.
  • Have a show down with said person and simply let rip about how their choices are breaking my heart.
  • Write a kind, loving email (another version of what’s above) hoping for them to suddenly see the light and open their hearts like never before to me.
  • “Forget this”, I’m done, I’m leaving, I don’t care anyway, basically run away.
  • Blame myself for the situation  – ‘if only I’d made different choices along the way, if only I had done this instead of that, if only I wasn’t such a loser. This is all my fault and I’m the worst kind of human being’.
  • Blame others.
  • Cling, grasp, turn towards ANYTHING that may offer some kind of respite from this intolerable pain.

And then… in talking with my friend… could I stop trying to fix this, to manipulate it like clay into a more acceptable shape, even though the clay is dry and crumbly. I realised that all my attempts to fix, control, manipulate, change and run away from this were all hopeless attempts to avoid the actual pain of my breaking heart. 

What if, instead of turning once again to these default mechanisms so deeply ingrained, I simply let myself move towards this heart-rending pain and let it be. Could I trust that this pain was somehow being allowed by The Beloved for a reason. Could I even entertain trusting that even this was as it was meant to be because it actually was. And at the same time as allowing and trusting (even amidst perplexity and mystery) could I reach out and ask for help. Could I ask for Jesus to come and rescue me, to do something to help me here. Could I ask the Friend to come and get me and lead me back home to myself. 

I want to say yes to this knowing that I will continue (for now at least) to fall back into my age old ways of fixing and controlling when I’m not looking. I know that in trusting this pain and allowing it doesn’t mean it’s going to go away, doesn’t mean that it won’t tie me in knots again. This doesn’t become another quick fix. It does allow me to find some kind of rest, a semblance of letting go, of accepting. It does open my eyes to notice what goes on here in this round-the-mountain-again-situation and how adept my ego still is at trying to work my life out the way I want it. 

I don’t like this, not one little bit, I don’t like this pain, I don’t understand it, I don’t know why it keeps arriving at my doorstep. But it IS here so I may as well welcome it in and let it offer what’s contained within it. Perhaps this pain holds more freedom from my controlling ways. Perhaps it contains a prayer for those whose hearts are also breaking for similar reasons. Perhaps it’s some other gift. Do I even need to know?

Whilst I welcome this heartbreak I also sit on the threshold of my doorstep and await rescue, await the Friend, The Beloved, Jesus to come. 

That was yesterday… today… early this morning before my husband left for work, the pain was awake with me. Whilst I finally sobbed, (no tears had to this point arrived) my kind husband came and wrapped his arms around me, laid his hand gently on my head and held onto me for as long as I needed (while the breakfast he was making for himself overcooked). I welcomed him as Jesus, I accepted this rescue, I NEEDED this compassion, this gentle, tender love. I needed to have my broken heart seen, my body needed to feel this embrace. And in those moments something gave way within and a softening came. Love offered tenderness to the brittle breaking of my heart. In that moment, I was able to let go a little more freely. 

This heartbreak will undoubtedly come around again, I still feel it now but it will diminish like an ebbing tide and then another flow will take its place at some point down the line. I hope that next time I will get to “help me” quicker. Next time I hope I will be less quick to try and fix, control and shape it into something else that means I won’t have to feel the pain. Next time I hope I can trust a little more easily even whilst I carry my leaden heart around in my boots. 

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