Tonight I felt it. I felt it slip up, slowly spreading, flowing through my veins, reaching for the unthinkable places. It, being the all too familiar feeling of sadness. It, being loneliness and fear. It, being the small situations which the control freak within me can not control.
And so I write.
I have been feverishly writing. My notebook, phone, and my laptop are filled with thoughts. Filled with quotes, with happy moments, with confusion, with letters never to be sent, filled with most of my feelings. It has been a month since I last made my thoughts public. I struggled with this, viewing this blank period as a writer’s block. Only to look at all of the words written and knowing why I have done nothing with them. Figuring out why I have not set them out on display for others to see.. Simply put, I am tired of what I was writing. I felt that I had to write a certain story. Inspire others. I felt like I had to be vulnerable, but only vulnerable enough to still allow me to wrap it up with a pretty little encouraging thought. I felt that I had to piece together my own thoughts and solve my own problems before letting anyone in. All the while knowing it would be a lie to post, it was be a facade to act as though I know the answers.
And so I write.
I am feverishly writing to say sometimes things are messy and not quite sorted out. Sometimes hurt and baggage stick around for a while longer than you thought they would. I am writing to say that it’s alright to just be. So often I find myself answering questions or having conversations about the difficulties served and allowing myself to acknowledge the load but following it up with a band-aid.
Let me preface, I am grateful for the ability to serve a Lord who so graciously meets us where we are and reminds us that He has gone before us. I am comforted in knowing He is sovereign. I am reminded often that the Lord only has my best in mind when allowing me to walk through the dark places. With that said, I am blessed. Just because all of these things are absolute truth does not make my pain, heartbreak, and struggles any less real.
I have learned that I often try to solve my problems before I even walk through them, failing every time. Band-aids don’t heal wounds deep enough to scar. A common band-aid of mine and so many others is the word BUT. We so often allow our attempt at a positive outlook to dismiss the issue at hand. We so often get in a hurry to move on with our lives that we sidestep past the raw emotions desperate to be felt. We reassure our friends, ourselves, and strangers that they will be okay and that things will work out. We supply a “but at least” comment in order to feel better. The fault in this is that often we dismiss or belittle the hurts. This is like comforting with the mentality of, “Hey I’m really sorry your grandma died, but at least you still have your grandpa.” It slightly acknowledges the thing worth grieving but suggests that it’s not as bad as it seems because something else really great is still in your life. Although it’s wise to be grateful, the presence of your grandfather does not replace your grandmother nor your relationship with her. It is a specific example, but it is one that can be applied all across the hardship board.
Reality is, pain demands to be felt. Tears build up in order to fall. Broken hearts don’t fix themselves. Time isn’t a cure all. When I am struggling with something, I have got to get out of the habit of stating the struggling and then following up with a lousy “but.” Maybe you do too. It is okay to just sit in the hurt and feel it. Let it sink in, allow your mind to wrap around the complexities, grasp at the memories, and allow the darkness its place.
Though feeling the pain is the most difficult thing I have done, though it forces past hurts to the surface, though it requires hard talks, I’m learning to bend not break. To mend the already broken. To lean in, not away. To get comfortable and familiar, yet never static. I am learning to turn to the Lord and cry. I am learning to run to Him with the heavy burdens of this life. I am learning that my God is a God that has, will, and does weep for me. Our hurts are validated. We should not be shameful of our tears. Nor the moments we feel as though our sadness may swallow us whole.
Looking at things I have tried to write in this past month I see my own attempts toward insufficient healing. I see my unhelpful words of “but at least.” My inadequate band-aids for myself and for others walking through a rough patch as well. I can see now that I do not need to give a perfect piece of writing explaining how I am dealing with x, y, z, BUT I am making it. More so, I see the absolute value of truth. The truth is LIFE HURTS. Divorce hurts, relationships are messy, feelings are complex, stress can be blinding, and college can be lonely. They’re hard lessons to learn, heavy loads to carry, and messy emotions to sort. That’s ok. That’s growth. That’s learning. There is no “but” to make your hurt any less. Allow yourself grace while in those places of vulnerability.
words by Courtney Poos and photo by Kiana Dundore