Then God opened up the hollow place in Lehi, and water came out of it. When Samson drank, his strength returned and he revived.
You looked at me the other day and you said, “I can’t find anyone like me.” What you meant, really, is that you can’t find anyone who has been through what you’ve been through. I nodded, because I get it. I get it not because I’ve experienced what you have, but because I, too, have been set apart by the events of my life.
I know what it’s like to stand in a room full of people and feel utterly, entirely alone. I know what it is to not be seen in broad daylight, to bleed loud and violent in the middle of a holiday and marvel at how they cannot hear me, how they walk through my blood and don’t slip.
I wondered why for years.
You spoke true words this week on the phone, and you took my breath away, “I don’t want this to be my life.” I knew what you meant. This isn’t the life I signed up for either, and every day I lose my breath in one small moment of clarity: yes, this is my life. I thought eventually it would sink in, but I’ve been swallowing lithium for a long, long time.
The word Bipolar still sticks in my throat.
Even just today, I missed the son we gave back to heaven. Surrounded by children, happy and free on a spring break adventure, there’s always some detail–their three to my two, another mother leading three little boys around–to prick this mother heart. I keep aching for my missing child. I do, and that’s the truth, and I hardly ever like to admit to it. Admit that some aches don’t leave. Admit to you that I just keep bleeding.
Admitting to you scares me, because I worry you don’t understand.
You asked me two springs ago, before the loss that changed your universe: “How can you stand to listen to someone talk about something so much less important than samkicker?”
I looked at you, and I knew you didn’t know yet: there is no hierarchy of pain.
True, deep pain has one Godly purpose on earth: to open us up. We get to choose: are we going to wall it off, cope, lie, freeze our pain into shards of glass we tiptoe around all of our days? Are we going to interview perspective friends and lovers until we find someone else who has been through enough atrocities to understand ours? Are we going to climb high up into an ivory tower and look down upon those who haven’t felt this much death? Are we?
True, deep pain opens us up to each other if we let it.
I see you, friend. I see you lonely, and I see you afraid. And I know that anger roaring when your pain gets compared, belittled, stepped over.
If I could tell you anything? View this chasmic shift in your heart–this breaking–as a chance at new life. See every redefinition, every bitter pill swallowed, as your way through.
Yes. I know what I’m saying, and I hate it as much as you do. But my pain unresolved is the piece of me that connects the best to others. It’s the piece of me that writes to you today.
Let your pain live out its life cycle. Don’t suppress it. And understand this: when you suffer chronic, when you live through the unimaginable and the unnatural, your life will look different. Like ground the farmer tills and seeds and plows and tills again, so are our hearts. So are our yields if we let Him work.
You are the holy ground, friend. Your heart bleeds and breaks and floods. If you allow it, your heart can yield crop after bountiful crop of beauty.
This brokenness that sets you apart was never supposed to be understood. It was meant to be given. So go give it. Flood it out into another’s barren waste land. Open it up for another’s nourishment. Stop trying to fix it, and start trying to share it.
True deep pain, like the stream carving a canyon into mountain, will find its way through to fertile ground. There, friend, as you water another? There, for one blink, your pain transforms into nourishing purpose.