Do you know the ways I'm broken inside?
Do you see the holes and spaces you've left gaping?
Do you know what kind of ache I feel?
Every shatter crushes deeper.
And if I break completely, she said,
you'll know it's because I'm torn completely open,
and I knew without her telling me that,
her wounds that are bleeding are here to stay.
And my fight will be a quiet one,
but I will fight to keep it that way, she said,
because these wounds are what we are.
And I thought again how
every day, we have to come to terms with,
we have to believe,
that what we are is enough;
that what we've been given is enough;
that this enough is perfect.
It's hard, she said.
And when everything presses in on me
and a heart-wrenching combination of ache and dread
and weariness and hurt and reeling confusion
with things the way they are crushes so hard,
I sometimes don't know how to carry on.
We sat in silence for a long time and thought about
the ache of life and the hurts that make us who we are.
Is it possible, she wondered, that all this weight of whatever it is that weighs so heavy
doesn't need to be given a name of joy or sorrow,
just that it is deep, and wide, and long, and
because in the end it is all for our perfect good,
that its name means love?
And I wondered too, That this is love?
And it's not about living for the peace after the rainstorms,
I said, or the light after the dark,
but really just about living through it all and knowing the comfort in the never ceasing ache of life
and feeling the strength in the never ending weakness of life
because He is with us.
And she said, maybe Immanuel,
God with us,
is really why we are here.
Joy and sorrow come and go like the ebb and the flow,
she said, and the only thing constant is the Presence
which is why He said, be joyful always,
but I think we think that means be happy...
...and I finished for her...
...when maybe it mostly just means,
know my presence because that is deepest joy.
And what if at the heart of all that is and all that we feel, she wondered,
is the deep and endless and ceaseless throb of a breaking heart
because something as great as that,
so much grander than what we can imagine,
is a weight we cannot bear?
And I wondered too.
And she whispered quieter than a wisp of night air,
Catch my hand.
Help me breathe.
This endless, aching beauty
is still crashing over me.
Every part of me throbs and I can't tell where the pain stops
and the joy begins,
they're ultimately the same in this life because it's all for our good.
And I wondered again and held her close because I didn't know what else I could do.
Funny how the pain doesn't disappear,
she laughed through her tears,
just the peace and joy floods on top of it
and the pain becomes another layer of me.
The tears didn't stop but she didn't mind.
Funny also how the tears come even more easily
after so much beauty and grace, she said,
and I remember again it is most often joy that breaks the heart.