I have loved a man with my whole heart, and he is gone. There is a gaping wound where he used to be. He saw me, truly saw me, and loved me still. I see now all that I gave, and where I was stingy or short-sighted. I see now where he gave what he could, but couldn’t move past his losses. But he loved me. Unquestionable, whole-hearted, soft and fierce love. I’m supposed to let go of him, and I don’t know how. He is part of the sinew in my heart, the marrow in my bones. He is part of my DNA, but he is no longer mine.
Grief cuts like a million knives. It lies to you and tells you there is no hope. It’s a tsunami washing over you so many times, you don’t care if you get back up. You are drowning but can not die. You are surrounded by many, the helpful and the curious, yet never so alone. You want to scream, but there is no sound. You know you must go on, and are furious about that. Some take, some give, but few listen or truly understand. You find yourself comforting others while standing in your own hell. You feel empty, heavy but hollow, dried up and waiting to blow away, disappear. A drowning victim that does not want to be saved. Fighting to live and wanting to die. Imagining ways you could just let go and be gone.
When it first happened, I wanted to die. I wanted to drive off the side of the mountain and go home; I couldn’t see a life without him. But for obedience to God, I would have. But for trust in Him, trust for a hope and a future I could no longer see or imagine or believe. There is no respite in grief, no relief from the pain. The hurt is emotional and physical; it punishes you until you yield. It washes over you when it is ready, not when you’re expecting it.
I came alive a few months ago while singing in church. I felt again. My nerves tingled and my heart opened. I felt hope and it felt dangerous. I felt joy. I felt alive. And I was afraid. I wanted to shut down, bow out, hide again.
The thing I want most, to truly connect my heart to others, feels so raw. I am both angry about what I’ve lost and sure I never deserved it to begin with. A life that has disappeared in the mist, a dream that never was. I need to find a way to let water flow from my heart again, beyond helping others. Helping is easy, receiving love, feeling worthy to receive love, exposes the shield I have held in front of me.
So, I will face the pain and trust Jesus in the midst of all of it. I will resist the urge to sink into the comfort of fear and shutting this all down. I will embrace the pain of coming alive and feeling hope again. I will believe He is preparing me for what is next, and that what is next will be beautiful. I will claim Jeremiah 29:11. I will dare to hope and thrive, not depend on circumstances or temporary feelings. I will fiercely choose joy in all circumstances and cling to the hope that is in Christ Jesus.