dark enough

My heart is so heavy today. The ache so deep and personal, yet the need to share it and hope that would somehow disperse it so inextricably linked. I’m hollowed out, and yet overflowing with grief. It makes no sense. These are the days when the heaving sobs come and they puddle me up on the floor and the only answer is no answer at all, just giving way to the giving in and releasing of it. And I wonder at the energy it takes when it feels there’s nothing left to give.

It’s exhausting. It’s an uphill climb every single time, battling through a mountain of grief in search of an outcropping of solid ground to lay my heart for a while. A place where I can slowly start to pull the pieces back together, tuck the remnants in, and stitch up the jagged edges again.

It’s such a lonely and isolating space, this grief is. And I can all too easily intensify that, I know. I call it different names, like ‘not wanting to burden others,’ but I think the truth is much closer to ‘I just don’t know how to share it.’

And I don’t know what to do with that.

After all, I was a career military spouse. There’s no room for I don’t knows when you’re the resident mom, dad, coach, teacher, discipliner, Lego helper, packer, mover, bill payer, and garbage disposal fixer. We get stronger and more resilient and courageous and independent because we have to be, learning early on to just figure out how to figure it out and get it done.

But there’s no ‘done’ in this. There’s no instruction manual or 2,500 piece Lego guide to get to the final result. The result is already here, and it’s way too final. There’s no ‘end’ to get to where it’s all going to be tidy and neat and some kind of sad distant memory. It’s always right now, and it always hurts, and it’s always what to swallow down and get past to get to the present.

And that’s what my calling seems to become- staying present in the midst of the grief, or at least getting back up when it would all too easily pull me under. But here’s the rub – it’s so much easier to get back up when there’s a hand extended to help. …But how does that hand know to extend, if my heart is too closely guarded to let others share in the helping?

It’s an impossible task, this guarding of my heart.

My husband promised it when he was just My Matt, not My Husband, never guessing just how monumental a job it would end up being. His words were sweet and sincere, and I believed him when he said it. And how desperately I sometimes need him to. But as strong as he is, as carefully as he cradles, as cautiously as he walks in his words and actions, I recognize that his ability to guard my heart only extends to the extent that I let him into it…

And whether it’s my husband, family or friends, that part simply doesn’t come easily for me. My auto-response tends to be more like, ‘It’s okay, I got it.’ Or ‘Oh thanks, but I’m okay,’ even as my head whips around in wonder at the words, because some days, I’m absolutely not okay.

My relationship with God can be a little like that too. He’s there and able and willing and waiting, but He can only work His love and peace and promise to the extent that I let Him.

It seems easy enough, doesn’t it? I mean, look at what’s waiting on the other side of the reaching. Love and hope and a hand to hold and a heart well guarded.

So my prayer is that I can more readily reach in and turn the key, allowing others to reach out.  Without that, we’re all just groping in the dark, and it’s dark enough in this place…



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