My body and my heart have been betraying me of late.
Physical illness combined with a broken heart is a heck of a one-two punch and can take us to really dark places.
But I don’t want to write yet another lament about my misfortunes in love. The temptation is there as I wrestle once more with deep depression, but it’s not helpful.
Instead I want to note how life has a way of completely breaking all of our hearts. Without exception. In myriad ways.
My daughter learned this past weekend that she won’t be able to keep the horse she has with her mother, a surprise to both of us and – for those who have connected with a horse – a terrible shock to her small heart. Which in turn broke my own.
Death comes for all of us at some point, and for those we love. Jobs get lost. Lies are told. People abandon and betray. We get abused.
It’s a long, tireless list of ways in which we get knocked down and wounded.
And it isn’t easy. Some of us refuse to heal. Some of us refuse to try.
But for those who choose life, there is healing to be had.
That’s a difficult thing for me to say as I look at picking myself up yet again off the relational floor. Time marches on, prospects look dim, and hope doesn’t seem real.
And the tough thing is we don’t always get what we want. Life isn’t fair.
Each of us is dealt a hand in life, some more stacked than others for good and ill. Only God knows in the end why the decks are shuffled the way they are.
And we can and should try to improve our lot in life but, with some things, such as love, the choice just isn’t entirely ours to make. We can’t control the outcome. Effort doesn’t always equate to results.
Health and a number of other issues are the same way. Cancer often strikes without discrimination. Cruelly and unjustly.
All each of us can do is the best we can with the hand we’ve been dealt, to find contentment with whatever our present state in life is, because the truth is there’s always something wrong. And there’s always something right.
Which isn’t to belittle the hardships we go through because there’s a proper time to mourn and grieve. And there’s a time to heal and move on.
As I’ve said many times and in many ways, the only true and ultimate hope I have is in God, and it’s as true now as always.
Things with him aren’t great right now. My relationship with him is scraping by for many reasons.
But repent and let him pick me up, that’s the discipline, no matter how many times I repeat it over the same mistakes.
And the reason I do it is because I know he loves me, even when I’m angry with him and don’t understand why my life is going the way it is.
I know that – in the end – because of his grace towards me, which has been guiding me to him and is manifested tangibly in the effort put down by me long ago to determine whether he’s really there.
My wrestling with his reality (historically, philosophically, and experientially) results in the strength of my faith, which itself is a gift. And while I’m weak in actions and temperament, he’s been good to not let me let go completely.
It’s been a season of confusion and loneliness for me, a season with which I don’t see an end in sight.
But as through all seasons in life, we have to cling to our hope, which results from our faith and is empowered by love.
Even in the darkest night, when we feel like all hope is lost, it’s still there, whether we feel it or not. Whether we run from it or not.
There is always an opportunity to heal. To be made whole. To start finding true peace and joy. No matter how many times we’ve tried and failed before.
Because the alternative is death, though it may not look like that on the surface, and a death that is worse than the physical kind.
Even if you’ve embraced that death before, God is in the business of resurrection.
And I write all of this as someone who is currently struggling to believe it. A large part of me rejects it, but it’s the part that is in pain and lashing out.
It’s really, really hard to keep going on sometimes, when the pain feels so fresh and intense and hope seems like a sick lie. When you feel like no one understands and you aren’t sure if you can trust even yourself.
When there aren’t words to describe how you feel.
In such times, even if you don’t believe it, hold onto the truth that there is always hope. Truth is there to be found if you look for it, and it will carry us through darkness when nothing else will.
And you are never completely alone, even when it looks and feels like it.