05 March 2014

Letting My Heart Break: A Lenten Journey

I've been thinking for days about my own Lenten journey this year.
I decided not to "give up" something - a food or sweet drinks or gum or anything.
Because in years past that discipline has just served to remind me of my own weaknesses.
I realize that is part of the point of Lent, but it has never taught me anything I didn't already know about myself.

I know I am weak.
I know I lack discipline.
I know I often cave to the desire of the moment.

I thought about writing daily, but I lack discipline and I know it will likely fall to the wayside when I start traveling and get busy.

I thought about committing to do something new for 40 days - an experiment I wouldn't normally undertake.

But none of those things got to the heart of what I most need right now.

It's been a rough year for me and an even harder winter.
The anxiety and stress of my life have raged in my body with an intensity I've never known before now.
Some days I have struggled to get out of my bed.
Many days I have appeared to be just fine but inside my heart was rolling in anxiety and turmoil, my mind littered with fear.

And then this.

To receive this blessing,
all you have to do
is let your heart break.
Let it crack open.
Let it fall apart
so that you can see
its secret chambers,
the hidden spaces
where you have hesitated to go.


My beloved husband posted the entirety of the blessing on his facebook page today.
But it was at line 5 that the tears began.

This is what I need:
To let my heart fall apart.

To stop "being strong."
To stop "managing the disease."
To stop trying to hold it all together with the finest thread.

I need to let it all fall to pieces around me.
I need to find God in that brokenness and begin again.

Inside the walls of my heart - the walls I have fortified so tightly around myself to protect me from my deepest fears - inside those walls is the life I want.  But without the broken open places I'll never find it again.

The blessing continues:
Your entire life
is here, inscribed whole
upon your heart’s walls:
every path taken
or left behind,
every face you turned toward
or turned away,
every word spoken in love
or in rage,
every line of your life
you would prefer to leave
in shadow,
every story that shimmers
with treasures known
and those you have yet
to find.

It could take you days
to wander these rooms.
Forty, at least.

And so let this be
a season for wandering
for trusting the breaking
for tracing the tear
that will return you

to the One who waits
who watches
who works within the rending
to make your heart

 ~ Jan L. Richardson

This will be my season.
This will be my 40 days of wandering.
Wandering through the darkest, scariest places of my heart.
Wandering in the wilderness I've let grow up.
I will trust the brokenness can be healed.
I will allow the tears to fall because I know the One who gathers them.

And at the end 
- at the end of the wandering 
and the breaking and the rending and the tears -  
will be a glorious Resurrection!


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