(from The Merry Recluse by Caroline Knapp)
On days like today I read the page above – whisked to me almost instantaneously from my sister – grateful for perspective and confirmation of similar experience, similar desire.
On days like today I need a way to make sense of (or at least hold on to) my broken heart. Perspective. Confirmation. Sense-making. Sort-of…
Because we are vulnerable, life hurts. We are not here to be free of pain. We are here to have our hearts broken by life. To learn to live with vulnerability and to turn pain into love.
There is nothing so whole as a broken heart, said Rabbi Mendel of Kotzk, [a] Hasidic sage. The world breaks our hearts wide open; and it is the openness itself that makes us whole. The open heart is the doorway, inviting the angels in, revealing that the world–even in the pit of hell–is charged with the sacred. ~ Miriam Greenspan, Healing Through the Dark Emotions
Yes, this: “…even in the pit of hell…”
I’m taking deep (and sometimes graspy, raggedy) breaths.
On days like today, I want to shut my heart down; to create a super-power barrier to the inevitability of ever being hurt or sad or disappointed (again).
And on days like today, the idea (and reality) of continuing to open myself up, to be exposed, to risk and palpably feel heartbreak as the very path to wholeness and joy feels not only counter-intuitive, but just plain idiotic.
Still, there is no Plan B.
Without heartbreak there wouldn’t be space – and spaciousness. Shattered-wide-open creates room for more love – and love and love and love.
So, down I go. Over the edge. Making the leap (which, more truthfully, feels like being pushed off the side of a cliff). Trusting that vulnerability (and raw strength, capacity, and time-worn-hard-earned perseverance) will sustain me (along with texts from my sister, calls from friends, the glimmer of a kind face via Skype, lingering conversation over good soup and better wine, sage advice from wise women in my life, and knowing-hugs from my daughters). And hopefully, prayerfully my faith. Yes, all this will (eventually), lead me back to joy, the sacred – and love and love and love.
“There is nothing so whole as a broken heart…”
I click the heels of my Ruby Slippers and try to imagine, try to believe. “There is nothing so whole as a broken heart. There is nothing so whole as a broken heart. There is nothing so whole as a broken heart.” Longing for home. Longing for hope. Longing… And always, especially on days like today, longing for love – and love and love and love. There is no Plan B to this, either.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted… ~ Jesus, Matthew 5:4
May it be so. And then some.
I wrote this post nearly three weeks ago…not ready to say it out loud; the emotion too raw. It still is. But in the midst, gracious confirmation that my words matter, that my heart is whole: this quote as gift and grace from Lindsey’s blog.
This is precisely why grief, like love and any other foundational, deceptively simple human emotion or state of being, is the terrain of artists. And it is a writer’s even more specific job to give voice to loss in whatever ways she can, to give shape to this unspeakable, impermeable reality beneath all other realities. ~ Emily Rapp
And so, on a day exactly like today, I’m hitting “publish.” Because even though Easter has passed, I still believe in its message. Because comfort comes. Because grace conquers grief. Because faith endures. Because hope cannot be held back or held down or even, ultimately, withheld from a heart that’s hell-bent on surviving and healing and knowing-giving-generating-offering-receiving-being love and love and love. Because there is no Plan B…gratefully.