I am a smart girl. I am a good girl. I am—mostly—a big girl. I am almost ready to be ready to acknowledge there might be some more letting go to be done. Nothing big, just a few little things like the deepest wounds in my heart, the strings that entangle every time, the right to require justice to places full of loss. Nothing big. I only realize now that those things don’t sound so valuable that anyone would want to keep them…they sound like things it would be good to lose.
But they matter because so much of me is in them. If I let them go, if I acknowledge that maybe there’s a different kind of choice I could make that would help with happy, then… then what about all the parts of me that I let go, too? What about all the tears and the pain and the prayers and the effort and the trying…didn’t those parts of me matter? If I just let them go then it’s like saying parts of me are not important, that the pain was useless, that the trying was well-intentioned but ultimately fruitless, that my very best efforts get me only to the point of admitting bankruptcy and stupid ignorance, or, worse, blind avoidance.
I’m not thinking terribly clearly here. I know that. I’m too tired.
And I know of course nothing is ultimately wasted, that the “family secret” is that all things work out for my good because I am called according to God’s purpose. I know that, no question. Even my nonsense gets used for my good and the good of others.
But just for a minute, I’m talking about the actual stuff mattering. Not the distance from pain that brings perspective. Not the perspective that brings insight. Not the insight that should breed trust…I mean the stuff. Doesn’t the pain matter? Doesn’t the effort of struggle matter in itself? My tears may be in a bottle in Heaven, but what are they worth now?
Just for once, I would have like to have been loved without the offer of strategies, without the obligatory reference to future redemption meant to spur me out of my pain. Just once, time enough to fall asleep safe and loved whether I chose the “right” attitude or not. Just once, the offering of love and safety and arms and shelter that did not feel compelled to remind me of what I ought to do when the moment was over and the shelter was gone and I was back on my own to suck it up and be tough and keep on doing the right thing. When you hurt that deep it’s only a matter of time before you stumble again, looking for the shelter.
Why is it so hard for anyone to see that sometimes, if you hold someone long enough without requiring anything more, they will finally take a deep enough sleep and a deep enough breath to get up, all on their own and without all the words, and do exactly what they ought to? Only this time, the wound starts going away and eventually they won’t keep stumbling.