Beginning the Work Again :: Tenderness in the Aftermath

Getting our morning started.

Vulnerable and sweet. 

After the profound healing experience of Saturday morning, I spent the remainder of the weekend feeling a lightness and joy I hadn’t felt for quite some time. I kept revisiting that one memory — the one Jesus healed — in order to test whether something had really, truly changed.

It had. 

And so, for two days this past weekend, I walked around my world with a smile on my face. Amazement in my heart. Joy overflowing. Marveling at Jesus and at the new ability to revisit that memory without flinching.

And then came Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday. 

This week, my heart has felt fraught with an overflow of emotions I can’t contain. I would be sitting at my desk, doing seemingly normal things like checking Facebook or Twitter or editing an article or responding to an email, and a deep, gutteral sob would feel like it wanted to escape from the center of my chest. I felt teary and fragile. Tears would fall down my face, unbidden, any time of day. 

I told Kirk on Wednesday afternoon, “I’m not sure what’s going on with me. Maybe it’s my workload”—which has been pretty full this week—“and feeling like I don’t have enough time to finish everything. Or maybe it’s hormones. Or maybe the news headlines and stories I’ve been reading.” (The previous night, I’d spent time learning about the hunger strike happening right now among prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, and it made me weep.) 

“Or maybe,” he said, “it’s all the intense healing work you’ve been doing.” 

Oh. That. 

Kirk’s comment stayed with me.

But at first, I resisted it. After all, I’d received that beautiful gift from Jesus on Saturday morning, and for two days afterward I’d felt a lightness of being and joy. I’d even checked in to make sure what happened was real. What would lead it to become tears and sadness instead? 

Then, later that same afternoon, while spreading a quilt on our bed after changing the sheets with fresh laundry, I realized it all made complete sense. 

That wall came down. And in its wake, my heart was now standing there, bare and exposed. This was a part of my heart that hadn’t seen the light of day, much less felt the faintest hint of wind, in 19 years. It had been on solitary lockdown, and now it was out there, exposed freely to the elements. 

No wonder every little thing kept making me cry. Everything blew over my heart like the slightest hint of wind, and it hurt like hell. Here was this fresh, raw part of my heart, feeling all the feelings and experiencing all that the big, wide world is for what felt like the very first time. 

I’m feeling tender toward this newly exposed part of my heart right now.

I’m feeling proud of her for showing up in the world. For existing. For saying, “Here I am,” waving her hand in a tiny, friendly welcome. 

She has so much to learn.

But she has so much to teach me, too. Like how to be open and how to feel things and how to care and how to have a heart that breaks at the pain of the world. Like how to be open and vulnerable in relationship in ways I need to keep learning how to be. 

I don’t want the wall to go back up in front of this part of my heart. And so, right now, it feels like I’m in training — a training that pays attention to all this tender vulnerability and says, “This is good. It hurts, but it’s very, very good.”