A Full Heart Breaking

FF19D7C4-E30E-4A8E-AB18-8E0210CC852E“What if the water touches you, Mama? What if you get wet?”

He stands cautiously to my right, where seaweed has been tossed and left behind.

“Sometimes you have to get close to get the good stuff.”

I stand up brushing sand off of my knees. Staring out at a mass of churning grey against grey, I feel a tug on my shirt.

“Can I see the picture?”

I pause and hold out the captured light for him to see.

“You’re right! It’s good to get close.”

My patchwork heart releases a little pain. Another stone falls from the walls I spent years building. Walls that have seemed to crumble at an ever increasing rate since his own shining heart first started beating. I want to tell him that sometimes it hurts. Sometimes getting close is accepting a stab in the chest. Sometimes your eyes fill and your face gets hot and you want to run. Sometimes you sit in the silence of your own brokenness stacking stones. Sometimes it seems easier that way. But I look down at his cheeks, painted by the wind, and just smile.

“Let’s keep walking.”

We walk along as the sea tries to grab our ankles, picking up shells and examining driftwood. He speaks with excitement in his voice about sharks and pirates…swords and ships. A familiar feeling arrives. It has a way of stepping into the room of my mind and giving me pause. Like seeing someone long lost to your youth walk into a space you’ve stood within a thousand times. I know you. How have we both come to this place at the same time? It looks me in the eye. I can’t turn away. It’s the ache of a full heart breaking. It’s all of the joy my soul holds expanding to the point that it turns to fragments. Shards of memory and peace colliding. My knees weaken as I somehow feel the weight of the past, the happiness of now, and the longing that awaits me. His small hand takes mine.

[1]

I kiss the powder soft cheek of sweet Isaiah.

“How was it?”

“Good. Nice. Beautiful.”

I sit to jot down some notes.

“What’s it about?”

Time passing. A soul longing. A full heart breaking and being stitched up- again and again.

“I don’t know.”

I step into the shower and the words form hot beads and roll down my neck.

Time passing. A soul longing. A full heart breaking and being stitched up- again and again.

I wrap in a towel and go to write down those words. The paper wilts. The ink bleeds.

“Are you hungry?”

I take inventory of the inside. Two cups of coffee- one hot, one cold. The crust of toast, two eggs, scrambled. One apple, granola eaten by the fistful. Three glasses of water, one right after the other. Trying to rapidly hydrate a body parched by pouring out.

Next the soul. Prayer interrupted by hurry and guilt. Confession overwhelmed by clock. Gratitude overtaken by the cry of a baby. Petition silenced by the whistle of a kettle. Three scriptures and one paragraph of reflection. A song in my heart halted at the second refrain. Not hours spent on my knees, but minutes spent trying to rapidly hydrate a soul parched by failing to lay it open. Stitched up by pressing time and convenience. Closed to the falling rain by promises of “Later, later… we’ll get to that.”

“I could eat.”, my mouth says as my innermost self pleads “And for me? Please? Something for me?”

[2]

Sleep comes. I see the opportunity. Time is brief but sacred. Carefully, I slide my arms out from under him. I realize that I am holding my breath.

I sit to read. To study history, truth, purpose… Because even in the daily carousel of diaper changes and reheated coffee- those things matter.

“For such a time as this”… notable words leaping from the page. And I turn them over in my hands. I feel their weight. What about now? What about this time I’m standing in? There’s a bigger picture than these four walls. The daily pouring out; a stream entering a rushing worldly river. Feeding, clothing, loving, and teaching boys that they may one day stand six feet tall and… hold up their heads? Bow them. Carry the world on their shoulders, running in grand strides? Humbly hand over the cares; simply care for the oppressed. Counterintuitive to the world perhaps. But we are raising souls. I turn the page and it speaks of reversals.

What is foolish in the world to shame the wise. What is weak in the world to shame the strong.

Flipping the script.

I hear a cry. My hand drops from brow to lap. A small voice proclaiming his need; my own small voice is whispering mine.

Too much life sucked out of my lungs by demands the world put at my feet. Demands that I too eagerly chose to carry. Weighing how I have chosen to spend every bit and moment given, as I pick up his rolling body.

“Hi sweetheart. I’m here. I’m here. You’re okay.”

[3]

There is a bright, full moon shining into the room. Streams of light fall on two small faces, now laying between us. One that decided a crib for the night just wouldn’t do. One that woke in fear and whispered “Can I be here?”

It all comes full circle in my mind. And again, my full heart breaks.

How many times have I cried out in the middle of the night? How many times have I crept in fear? How many times have I asked if I was worthy?

Can I be here?

It’s dark in there. Can I lay by your side, in the light?

Once again the beauty of this beautiful breaking, this season of pouring out, this chapter of raising babies… reminds me of the scars left by a broken past. It brings to my heart all the ways I was stitched back together. And sometimes I break open. Sometimes bits of hurt rise to the surface. It leaves me weak. But in that weakness, I remember where I turn. My fingers trace the stitches. The scars remind me.

I am not without flaw but I am redeemed.

My heart is full. And it breaks, not from shame or sorrow. But from the burst of beauty and redemption. It cracks a little every time it recalls the pain and recognizes the grace.

And every time I fall; I know what name to call out. Because it has stitched me up before. I have come before, trembling and tearful and I have asked “Can I be here?”

The arms took me in… the hands pulled an iron thread through the all the parts of me that I allowed arrogance to wreck and guilt to lay bear.

“For such a time as this” echoes in my head. Time passes; don’t miss the purpose. Your soul is longing; don’t ignore the tug. Your heart will break- again and again. It can be stitched up. Iron crossing over the cracks. The scars will sometimes ache; a reminder of the pain that brought you to now. A small voice crying out will be the call that brings you to your knees. It will remind you of why you’ve been brought to now.

[4]

Sometimes it hurts to get close. It hurts to lay open your heart. But you will crawl to the edge of that sea. When you reach the point where standing back on the sand is a certain, dry death. When you feel your self melting into the sand. You will come to that sea and cry out. The waves will wash over you. The salt will clean your wounds. And you will be sewn up.

You have to get close for the good stuff. You can spend a life running along the shore. Or you can open your clenched fists and turn your feet to the waves.

I spent years trying to ignore the pull of the tide. When my life had been laid to waste; I came crawling on the sand. I was in pieces. But my heart has been sewn with an iron thread.

And now my Jehovah-Rapha uses the vulnerability of getting close, the words of a small boy, the cry of a baby in the night, the story of a people saved from ruin by one placed in purpose… to remind me of my own purpose and redemption.

To remind me that I have been called out of pain. To remind me that when I fall today, when I stumble tomorrow- I call out. To remind me that my heart can only be full now, because it was stitched together. To remind me that I don’t linger on the sand. I don’t answer to a past that tries to hiss my name.

For such a time as this; my full heart is breaking.

[5]