What do you do when your heart gets ‘broke open’?
At the beginning of this month I planned and ran a conference and went away on a women’s weekend. Work has also been pretty crazy. So it’s been a hectic few weeks and I’ve not found much writing time. But, I have had heaps of processing time in the midst of the busyness so I thought I’d share a few reflections.
Two weekends ago we headed to London for a wedding vow renewal service and party. My husband was leading worship so he had a band rehearsal and I wandered off into London to find a place to kill time.
I pottered down the road, past hundreds of beautiful daffodils. Spring has sprung! Anyone else feel indescribably happy when you see those beautiful yellow bunches springing up all over the place?!
I found a pub. I bought a glass of wine and I settled myself in to a comfy seat. Outside! What a joy. Before I even got my book out of my bag I sat and people watched and was alone. There were masses of kids running but the noisiness of other people’s children only served to amplify how peaceful it was for me!
Whilst away at the conference earlier in the week a friend gave me a book so I was pleased to find time to read. I’m only two chapters in but so far it is brilliant. It’s called, ‘The Broken Way’ by Ann Voskamp.
In the book, Ann tells the most beautiful analogy about her daughter and a torn paper heart (read the book for the full story!). Long story short, the paper heart gets ripped and Ann expects her daughter to be upset but it’s her response that really struck me. “Maybe the love gets in easier right where the heart’s broke open.”
“Maybe the love gets in easier right where the heart’s broke open.”
How often do we feel like we’re damaged where our hearts are broken? How often do we feel like we need to be brave and strong and not broken? How often do we feel weak if we cry? When I stop and think about it, it is in my times of feeling most broken and most hurt that I have also felt most loved. It is when friends have comforted me and God has met with me that I think love has gotten into my heart in a way that I’m sure it wouldn’t have otherwise. Thinking about this made me reflect on a few areas in my life.Firstly, as parents we try so furiously to protect our kids from hurt and pain. But, but we also want to teach them to be able to love others in their hurt and pain. I know that it is in the situations where I have some experience in which I am truly able to love others with great authenticity. Sure, I can do that when I haven’t experienced the same hurt but there’s something about really standing with someone in their pain. I don’t want my kid to get hurt, I don’t want him to feel pain but it is inevitable. What I do want is to teach him how to let love in even when his heart gets ‘broke open’ and even when it feels hopeless.
Secondly, when I met my husband I wasn’t looking for a relationship and I told him I was really hurting from a past relationship. He asked me to trust him with my heart and give him the opportunity to prove that he was different. I did. And he did. Allowing love in where my heart was broken was the one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.Thirdly, in my last workplace I got pretty hurt. I thought I’d processed it all but recently I’ve realised that my heart is still hurting. Naturally we want to process and move on, or bury the things that hurt, but some things take longer to heal and sometimes those things need to be processed elsewhere. I’m now in a job and church where my heart is so cared for and I am convinced that those hurts are being healed where the love is getting in. I’ve had to open up those wounds and be honest and vulnerable with that pain. It’s hard and sometimes I feel like ‘surely it would be easier just to hide it’ but ultimately I am being loved and affirmed whilst getting to do some really important emotional processing.
We’re all broken people. There’s no sense in pretending we’re not. Our hearts hurt. They get ‘broke open.’ I wonder, what would happen if we were open and vulnerable about the hurts in our hearts to those who love us? What would happen if we chose to let more love in?