I wonder who first crafted the beautiful word “brokenhearted”?
They must have been scrabbling for purchase, for some language to sink their fingers into. They must have been struggling to capture that shattered, aching, empty, heavy, dismal desperation… They must have whispered “broken” because it can’t be right. And whispered “heart” because it seems that the very true core of all things is cold to the touch.
And when they first spoke the word… what then?
Did the feeling yield in their chests. A gentle “ah ha” breathed out like relief? Or did it grow thicker? A quiet desperation. Does a broken heart mend? I like to think that speaking it’s name let it come out of the shadows and into the light of healing.
Today I can do only one small thing: Give up.
It’s my own whispered word into the everywhere. Give. Because my hands are too tired to hold anything any more. Up. Because I’m falling down. And everything is carrying on without me. And here I am.
Giving up. That’s a thing. A real thing. A hard thing. Giving up all the scrambling for meaning. All the weary reaching for joy. All the clinging to hope floats in a stormy sea of “I didn’t sign up for this.” We can give it up.
We don’t talk about this like it’s an option. But it is.
Why does it always have to be “Lean in” and “Give it a good hustle”?
Maybe sometimes it’s not. Maybe sometimes it’s “Let go” and “Lie down.”
Goodbye desperate white knuckles. Goodbye peppy and upbeat.
Don’t we just upbeat ourselves to death sometimes?
I am opening the door and invite it all in. All the sadness that has been beating on the windows. All the weariness that has been prying at the cracks in my armor while I smiled and did the life things. While I braved. While I stronged so well. Come in, Sad. I’m making space.
I’ve given a day to my big son and a day to my small son. I’ve given a day to my friends, my husband, my church. Not in that order. I’ve given a day to my work, my hobbies, my mom, my dreams, my sisters, my grocery list, my house keeping, my city. I’ve given a day to the ducks in the pond and a day to Target and Halloween and Ikea and books. I’ve given a day to my body. A day to my mind. I’m deciding right now… I can give a day to you too. Sadness, you’ve been with me for all the years. You’re an old friend. I can give you your time.
Broken heart. Crawling skin. Strained nerves. Limping bravery.
You are all meaningful parts of this Whole Person.
Let’s be honest: You’re the ugly step sister. But you have a place at this table. You have work to do too. You have things to teach me. I can make the time.
Today is a sad, sad day. It’s not going to be a resolution day. It’s not going to be a rise above day. It’s not going to be a best self or boot straps or battle onward day. It’s going to be a sad day. Anything else would be a lie. I need a second to make the “time out” sign. I need a second to say, “Enough.”
As mothers, we spend so much time binding up the broken hearted. Then we try to bring our best and brightest Me to our community. We try to not give our husbands the ass end of us. We are always putting the best foot forward, while the poor worst foot is getting more and more wounded from carrying all the weight while the best foot shows off.
I’m calling a “Worst Foot” day. My Worst Foot needs some time and space to heal. My Worst Foot needs to stare out the window in desperation and burst into tears in the bathroom, then crawl in bed for a two hour nap while the kids watch “Animal-Mechanicals” or some shit.
When you’re depressive, it’s a scary thing to open the door to sadness. You don’t know how long it will stay. Will it come in for an hour and then move on, the way it should. Or is this the beginning of a two year struggle to breathe?
I’m just going to take a small step of faith.
I’m going to believe that Sad doesn’t need to stay. It just needs to visit. It needs to touch base and make sure I’m taking care of me. Then it will fade gently away. I will be left here. More quiet. More honest. Less like too little butter spread thin over toast. More ample. Because I said yes and made space even for the ugly step sister side of my Whole Self.
If you need a sad day, take a sad day. That’s all.
“The law is for the proud and the Gospel is for the broken hearted.” – Martin Luther