Myself

It’s a funny thing, going back to the place where we were once beginning.

I remember the night – the newness of putting my arm on your back, standing close to you in the elevator. Leaning against you on the couch. I listened to you as you held the Bible open in your lap, speaking truth and wisdom into the passage. I fell for you a little bit more, in that moment.

I don’t ever long for you, anymore.

But I do sometimes ache over the ending. I do sometimes ache that what once seemed beautiful turned into brokenness.

I laid on the couch tonight, the brown one – not the white one we spent so many nights entwined on – and I thought about time. And I marveled at the fact that what was once so true could seem as if it were a lifetime ago. You, you – you are a lifetime ago.

I’ve spent more days without you now than I did with you, and there’s something profound in it. I think there’s beauty in a softer heart, one that knows heartache. There has to be – because there are meanings in endings too, aren’t there? I once thought that our ending defeated our being, but I’ve learned – it doesn’t. It’s just the ending to a chapter of two people who fell for one another in broken forms and couldn’t find a way to make beauty out of it.

I’ll always love that we tried, though.

And I need to carry that with me, to keep on trying. I want to be one who always tries, who always jumps. I’m glad I cared for you, once. When you walked away, my feelings bounced back. It’s made me stronger –

and it’s made me fall in love with who I am.

And though you’ll never hear me,

I’ll always be whispering to you thanks.

Thanks under full moons, thanks along the waterfront, thanks in the places we once began.

Thank you for letting my heart return to me … for in doing so, I found what I’d been longing for.

Myself.

Holding Broken Pieces

redeemer

I had been looking at it all wrong.

Holding these broken pieces in my hand, I’d let them define the story. I’d let them become who I was. I’d let them label me unworthy, failure, incompetent.

When all along they’d been broken pieces in need of a Redeemer.

I’d whisper a prayer of forgiveness and still, shame would be nearby and I’d feel the fingers pointed towards me. Never getting it right. Always returning.

Until the morning – with Christmas lights nearby, cold coffee in a mug beside me, the previous late night still effecting this blurred mind –

I read,

“Why are we afraid of broken things?”

I think of the broken pieces I seem to always hold in my hands. The ways in which I fail, and don’t measure up, and the impossible and often confusing stories that are right in front of me.

I hold the mug of coffee closer and I stare at her words again, and I realize in that moment –

I’d been looking at the broken pieces so long I’d failed to see what they really were.

Because broken pieces are really just an opportunity. An opportunity to see that in our weakness, He is made perfect.

When I’d come to Him in desperate need of His grace, I’d stopped short at describing what I held in my hands. I’d stopped short when describing my brokenness – and failed to ask Him to enter into the brokenness and redeem it. To show up. To make something new. To let me see how He is working all things for His glory.
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Broken pieces do not mean broken people. Maybe that’s the Truth I am in need of today.

Broken pieces are in need of Holy Hands to stitch them back into something beautiful. Broken pieces are meant for a Redeemer who was broken in order to make us whole.

And in amidst the cold coffee and the twinkling lights –

I offer Him my broken pieces and ask Him to make them something beautiful.

the little things.

imageI think sadness reminds us to notice the little things. Grief can be paralyzing. You notice the heaviness in your face as you force yourself to lift your lips into a smile. You notice the way the bricks are speckled and grooved because you can’t focus on anything but the wall in front of you. You notice the bright colour of green vines that sprawl up the building and you thank God that beauty still, always, exists.

And mostly you remember the sound of your breathing, shaky, but constant in a new world that’s not.

And that’s enough. That’s the redemption you can cling to, that in a new world that’s feeling a little more broken than it was yesterday, there is always, always, the little things.

Hold, hold, hold.

When I got the phone call from Dad saying that Mom was moving out, I was at work in the library. I saw my phone light up with his name across it, and normally I wouldn’t answer my phone at work. But for whatever reason, that night I knew, with a dreading feeling in my stomach, I had to pick it up. So I did.

And mostly I remember the stumbling words, the tears on the other hand, my gasps for breath. And as Dad hung up on me, unable to finish, I too hung up and headed for the door, the tears already forming in my eyes. My hand grazed the front desk and I mentioned to my friend behind the counter that I would be back shortly. It was all I could do to find the door, find my way to the centre courtyard, and push my way into the cold, fall air.

I collapsed on the ground. I wailed and wept and stared at the stars in the sky. There is horror in grief, you know? That encompassing fear of what is to come, what will never be. It all crashes down in one, horrific move.

I don’t know how long I was there, but I knew I had to move and go back to my desk and leave work early. As I walked through the door into the foyer of the school, I saw my friend coming from the library after me. I collapsed into his arms and I cried, and I shook, and I whispered what had just become my life, and he held and held and held.

Before that night, had someone ever come to me, and told me that their parents were splitting up, I probably wouldn’t have known what to do. I probably would have uttered something senseless, like that it’s for the best, or God would use it.

And just for future reference –

Those are probably the worst things to say. Please don’t ever say that loss is “for the best.” Or that “God has a plan.” Quite frankly, it just makes me want to slap the words out of your mouth.

But I can tell you what we do need, us kids who walk brokenness in our family tree.

We do need to be held. Held, held, held. And told that it’s not okay. It’s not fair. It sucks. It isn’t right. You’ve been wronged and I wish there was a way to defend you and give you justice, but I can’t and there may not be that chance this side of heaven.

You can whisper that you are sorry that we don’t have a safe place. You can whisper to us to still hope for marriage and not hurt inside at another’s family dinner. You can tell us that love wasn’t best exemplified by two imperfect people; but Love is found in a Person, who has our name written on the palm of His hand.

You can fight for us. You can hold our hand when new dates are brought home; you can cry silently with us when new family trees are born that we don’t feel a part of. And maybe never will be. You can feel the weight of an empty chair at a wedding or funeral or family dinner, because the words will never be spoken but you will whisper in the silence that all is not right nor will it ever be.

Just be our fighter, our holder, our constant. Enough people in our lives tell us not to feel the way we are feeling, whether it’s a month after the boxes or packed or if it’s five years. But not enough people tell you that it’s okay. It’s okay to be hurt and be figuring out a way to hold this brokenness in your hand and just be okay. It’s okay that fall brings with it memories of loss that are so heavy in the cool air you can almost feel them unfolding again before you.

It’s okay. And if no one else will be that for you: I will be. It’s okay. It’s horrific. It isn’t fair. Let me cry with you. Let me weep over what is not nor ever will be.

And I will be there, and I will take you in my arms and I promise to hold, hold, hold.

Even This.

You’re breaking my heart these days.

It’s being broken in the seasons ending and the goodbyes … spoken and unspoken.

It’s being broken in the offering of my plans, my hopes, my dreams … in exchange for yours.

I don’t know quite what to do with these broken pieces of my heart. I find them scattered on the floor of the dark room in the light of a yellow candle as my tears hit the counter. I find them in the stammering of broken answers in a hot car, and the painful gait of my sweet friend. I find them in the silence … made ever the more silent after loudness is present.

But sometimes … in these broken pieces … I am sensing your Peace. And even in the pain, and the chapters ending, I am just wondering if we need to be broken sometimes so there are cracks to let you in. I am wondering if we need the hard conversations to let You slip in Your answers. And in the losses I am wondering if mostly they are there to remind us that You are the only One that stays and that makes us whole. No family … no person … no relationship. Just you.

I can’t make much sense of the brokenness but I can keep whispering that we are broken to be made whole to be broken again. That in the brokenness our hearts are softened … the cracks let in the light and you redeem even this. Even this. Even this.

Seeing It As It Is

I looked through my journals, searching for the story I was sure I had tucked away somewhere. It had come to me on the bus, an image of his hat of all things. And so I had set out to write the story down: of the taste of the cafe au lait, of his French, of his story – to find some sort of beauty in the story of falling for an unhappily married stranger.

Because that’s what I long for, to find beauty in brokenness.

But today I just can’t bear to write those words. I can’t even describe to you watching him as I left, or the feeling of guilt rising in the pit of my stomach. We may not have even touched in that hour, but my heart had surely gone places it never should have.

Nothing will make that image pretty.

And I realized,

I don’t want it to be.

Because it’s not. Continue reading “Seeing It As It Is”

Find that person.

It was a late afternoon. The smell of fresh coffee lingered in the air, and I lingered in the doorway with it. I made small talk as I am apt to do when stalling; and although I knew in her eyes she knew what I was doing, I did it anyways. When my words finally ran out, I finally crossed the room, sinking into the sofa across from her.

“So how are you?” she asks me in her quiet way. Her words are an invitation to me; they are the warm, safe blanket I am seeking. Before I even answer her, I can feel the tears brimming in my eyes and I fight the urge to look away from her. “Not good,” I reply, and my voice cracks.

“I know you aren’t,” she says softly, her face reflective of the tears that have appeared in my eyes. There’s a moment of silence but the silence is anything but quiet. It’s proclaiming the grace I am desperately seeking; it’s showing me the heart I have been searching for just to simply listen.

I was searching for someone to hold my brokenness in their hands and to not allow me to stay that way, but to hold my hand as I step forward. To allow me to share the dark parts of me; to confess the sins I hide deep in my heart. But even more than that, I was searching for someone to love me in spite of my darkness.

And although I know Christ loves us that way, He also calls us to love one another in that manner. And sometimes finding someone who loves in the gracious way He does is hard.

But, on that afternoon with the smell of coffee in the air, I found it. I experienced grace. What a beautiful thing, because although admitting how we fall seems like such a failure, what Jesus does through grace is transform it into a sign of redemption.

I say all of this to say,

find that person. 

Seek out that person who will love like Christ does, and confess your sins. Unconfessed sins are a powerful tool in the hands of the Enemy. He uses them against us. But confessed sins are a powerful tool in the hands of the Lord, because He uses them for testimonies.

Find that space. Find the space in which you can be known, the dark, gritty, ugly parts and all.

Because when grace invades those ugly parts? God uses even that to bring Him glory.

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16)