“I don’t know how to recover this time. For the first time, everything in me just wants to barricade my heart and say ‘no more. Never again.’ It’s too much. It’s too raw and too honest, too much has passed and too much was said. Something precious feels like it’s been destroyed and I don’t know how to pick up the pieces.”
(Journal Entry, September 22)
A few months ago, I went through one of the most painful experiences of my life, one I had feared for a long time and had gone to great lengths to avoid. It isn’t often that you go through a defining moment, one that will forever segregate the timeline of your life into sections:
This was one such moment. The funny thing about fear, though, is that the anticipation of an event is often much worse than the event itself. And God always seems to give us exactly the grace we need, just when we need it. Sometimes that grace is the awareness of a gentle presence, a feeling of deep comfort even as we drown in tears and struggle to take our next breath. And sometimes, as was the case for me, it comes as a sigh of surrender.
I’ve come to believe that pain and love are bound together in our experience of this world. I’ve come to believe that the only way to truly accept love is to accept the pain that necessarily accompanies relationships with fallible human beings. God’s own love for us was made manifest on the cross of Jesus, through unimaginable suffering and the ultimate sacrifice of his own life. I think true love is the act of laying our hearts wide open and giving others not just power, but permission to wound us. To resist the temptation to close ourselves against the very people our soul wants most to open up to. To allow ourselves to experience pain not as a force of destruction but as a refining fire. To love is to risk. To be loved is to risk. To love, moment by moment, is to grow.