“For my part, I prefer my heart to be broken. It is so lovely, dawn-kaleidoscopic within the crack.”
— D.H. Lawrence (1885–1930)
I recall it as if it were yesterday; driving between two cities, with Avril Lavigne playing songs of jilted love, coveting tears, feeling all alone, yet all alone with God. Those songs were so important in that day every time I hear them today there is a fondness kindled deep in the kiln of my heart, where a fire consumes every burden for falsehood and I am brought home to intimacy with myself and with God.
As I recall it, living with a broken heart was next to impossible, and certainly the anxiety attacks were monstrous. I bore a depressive day after a numb one, interspersed with fleeting moments of normalcy. Living such a nightmare involves few reprieves. Sleeping was better than waking, infinitely so. There was a breakdown and more than once was there serious contemplation for suicide. These were the horrors of life; a life of death – the termination of one sense of being, and, for a time, into being of a sense terminated.
Empathy for one and all that suffer or ever suffered was one great and ironical byproduct of such a time. Empathy born of compassion, though it seemed useless at the time, was exactly what my character needed. I think I’d been compassionate previously, but not to that sort of selflessly courageous extent.
Loss does that to us. Having a heart softened at the same time that the exterior is toughened for duty; these are the states of being that occur to us as we are metamorphosed.
Living with a broken heart is about not giving up whilst holding on firmly to the God of our creation. It is simply that. As we hold on, and patiently operate within life the best we can, trying to be obedient to the Spirit, slowly we are being transformed, and even slower than we can imagine. But what is so slow is never more certainly happening. And it is effectual!
Living with a broken heart is about truly understanding that it won’t always be this way.
We must believe in recovery, and, when we believe in recovery, we will allow ourselves time and space for recovery. Giving ourselves grace is the most compassionate thing we can do, and others will certainly benefit. For, if we cannot be compassionate with ourselves how can we be compassionate with others?
Compassion is something richly afforded out of loss. Grief is a coach and he works not only by assault, but also by compassion – as we may allow. If there were no grief there might also be little compassion.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.