Even writing hurts. This thing I sometimes love more than life…hurts.
I want to stop. To put it off. To wait until I can write about things that sparkle and bring light to your eyes. I want to wait until I can make you smile, make you laugh, make you remember why we’re even friends.
I don’t want to hurt. And I don’t want to be the girl who’s always hurting. And I don’t want to be the girl you roll your eyes at because she just. Won’t. Stop. Complaining.
I want God to give me shiny, happy words. Because I want to be shiny and happy.
But He’s called me to this: the right now…the ugly and real…the what-you-see-is-what-you-get.
And some days, I hate it. Today is one of those days…
In my last post, I referenced Isaiah 54:10:
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord who has compassion on you. (NIV)
That was just a few short weeks ago and even then, I couldn’t possibly imagine how much He’d be willing to shake, how much He’d be willing to remove.
My world’s a small world. And I have taken things like love and friendship and kindness and peace for granted.
As the boulders crash around me, I take one of two postures. Enraged and desperate to find an answer, a shelter, a way out, something to stop the quaking. Or lifeless, nearly paralyzed in the dirt, weeping a silent stream of unyielding tears, my only movement the rise and fall of my chest…I guess I’m still breathing.
I have a hard time understanding where God’s love fits into all this.
I want to tell you that I know His love is always there. But all I can say is that I know that I once knew that His love is always there. These days, His ever-present love is a hazy memory, like the image left over on an old T.V. screen just after you turn it off, or the faded ink of a letter worn by sun and time.
Some days, the hardest days, I’m not sure it’s enough – clinging to the dim memory of love.
God reveals His love most often and most powerfully through His people. He literally tells us in John 13:35,
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (NIV)
That’s how it’s supposed to work. We’re supposed to love one another. He loves us and then with His love, we love one another. And in the act of loving one another, God reveals himself – to us and to the world. We get to know Him and His love more and more and again and again through each other. And when the world sees that, they see Him.
But when we fail to love, when we wound one another instead…oh, the cost is steep. It’s supposed to be. Because we are meant for love.
Stumbling through the rubble of broken hearts, we trip, scrape our ankles, fall to the dirt and gash our knees. Wounded, we wound. Ourselves. Each other. And with every fall, and every break, we are more likely to fall and break again. And again. And again.
This is where I lie. Broken. This is where I stumble. Wounded. By those I love. And what keeps me breathing? In the midst of the avalanche of boulders? When I’m raging? When I’m weeping?
The neighbor who knows I’m sad and even though she doesn’t know all the reasons why, she makes me soup anyway. Not because I’m sick or injured. But because she loves me.
The friend who calls me. Every. Single. Day. On her way home from work. And listens, tirelessly and without judgment, to my nonsense laced with an appalling amount of swear words. Not because she enjoys my repetitive, outrageous mouth. But because she loves me.
The friend who Snap Chats me messages just to remind me that she’s praying for me. Not because she has lots of free time and nothing better to do than Snap Chat. But because she loves me.
The husband who calls every day from a long, draining business trip to check on us…make sure we haven’t starved to death and been eaten by dogs. The same man who books expensive plane tickets for a vacation to soothe the heart of his baby girl who cancelled her 16th birthday party. Not because he loves squeezing in phone calls over a six-hour time difference or throwing money out the back of a 747. But because he loves us.
The coworker who prays for me and puts up with me and puts up with me and prays for me. Daily. Not because her own life is free of grief and loss and pain. But because she loves me.
The daughter who eats pizza three nights in a row and snuggles up next to me in bed and tells me I’m the best mom in the world. Not because I am. But because she loves me.
The daughter who grocery shops for her own food because I keep forgetting what she wants and who gets up early to drive her sister to school when I’ve had a sleepless night. Not because she wants to. But because she loves me.
The mom who, broken and battered herself, still says “I want to hear what’s going on with you.” And listens. Not because it’s easy to hear more stories of the hurting. But because she loves me.
These are the reasons why my chest still rises and falls.
When I look for love in the rubble of broken hearts, I look at them. And I remember, that we wound because we are wounded but we love because He first loved us.
And I remember…I remember, that I once knew that His love is always there.