I’m going to write today about something that I had no intention of writing about…It dives deeper than I’m probably prepared to go and yet, I can’t shake the need to get it out. The thing is that while I do share a lot on here, there’s also a lot that I don’t share. More often than not, I will wait to talk about things until I feel like I have some kind of handle on the situation and some kind of positive outlook. It’s not that I’m dishonest with what I’m thinking, simply that not everything goes on here (nor should it really). I’ve always loved the quote from Shrek where he says, “Ogres are like onions, we have layers.” While I don’t fancy myself an ogre (well at least not on most days) I do get the concept of layers… I just prefer to talk about them in reference to cakes.
So today I’m talking about a layer that’s probably not as obviously on display.
Recently, I lost someone who was very dear to me. My grandfather passed away a little over a week ago.
He lived a very full life. (I wrote a post about him last year here) He was ready to go. As he continually told us, he was ready to see “Jesus and his beautiful bride, Betty”. I don’t blame him at all. I know that he is currently experiencing what life is really all about. I’m envious of his current revelation.
Knowing these facts doesn’t change the grief I feel. The sadness is real. Missing him is real. The closing of a season is real. It doesn’t totally feel logical, but it’s real.
I’ve realized something about myself in this process. I don’t like pain. In fact, I have some pretty detrimental habits that I’ve formed over the years to avoid pain. The chief among them is complete avoidance by shutting down. While pretty effective in the short term, it is totally destructive in the long run.
A very wise person told me a few years ago that while you can choose not to feel, you can’t choose which emotions not to feel. When you shut down, you do so completely. You can’t shut out the pain without shutting out joy too. That’s the way our hearts work. You can’t shut them down and expect to live a full life. Trust me; I know a thing or two about this.
The Bible says that we are to “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.” (Prov. 4:23 MSG) Just imagine the ripple effect of a heart that is shut down. Maybe you’re like me and you don’t have to imagine because you’ve lived it or are living it even now. Perhaps it’s not as the result of a death of a loved one but instead of a dream or a relationship. Perhaps it’s a by-product of fear, believing that living life from your heart and in turn being rejected might be the worst possible fate.
Whatever it is, I’m here to say, from the midst of my own battle and not from a “resolved other side”, don’t do it!
Don’t shut down your heart.
Fight for it. You’re worth it.
My one goal in the midst of this grieving process (and it is a process) is to simply not shut down. To feel the feelings. Not to be overwhelmed by them, but simply to allow space to process.
I’m realizing that as I walk through them, I’m not alone. The Bible says that God is our “very present help in time of trouble” (Ps.46:1) and it’s true. He cares when I hurt. He cares about my heart (and yours too). He cares about my wholeness.
It’s why I can say in the midst of it…
heaven feels closer today