How do you put back together the pieces of a broken life? It’s been such a weird few years. So much has changed, and so much hasn’t. When I have a few moments to quietly reflect on the journey behind it’s a wonder sometimes that I’ve survived at all. I have slipped, stumbled, fallen on my face more times than I can count. I have been hurt and done my share of hurting. When my therapist says to me that I’m carrying such a load, I usually scoff a little and think to myself that he’s being nice and doing what I pay him for. As I sit here in my office, I can laugh at that sentiment actually. Because if you knew him, you would know for sure that isn’t true. He genuinely understands, acknowledges, and empathizes with the enormous pile of stuff I’m carrying. I know why it’s hard for me to accept it. I just don’t believe that I have THAT much to carry. I’m an adult, shouldn’t I really have my shit together by now? What is it that is so difficult about my life? Comparison is the thief of joy, or so I’ve heard, so why am I comparing myself to my idealized version of me? I recognize the theft of joy in the present moment because of my incredible inability to simply be TRULY kind and loving toward myself. I think, if I were someone else, and I was looking in on my life from the outside, I’d probably wonder what is wrong with that dude?
At its core, what I’m ultimately struggling through is grief. (insert grief cliché’s here) I know it isn’t linear, or predictable, or neat, or anything but a jumbled mess. Like me I suppose. I’m grieving the loss of relationship, not just present, but future potential within that relationship. The loss of time with my boys. The loss of a home. The loss of comfort and security. On and on and on. Do I deserve less? No, not really. It is a beast of my own making. The consequences of many unhealthy choices compounded over the decades. Today of all days this is made all the more striking as it would have been my 19 year anniversary had things gone differently. So you see, there is a cost to everything. Some days, it is more than I can bear. So I ask again, how do you put back together the pieces of a broken life. How does one simply continue on in life, carrying around not just the grief of loss, but an enormous sack of red flags warning off anyone from getting too close. Add to that “normal” life of parenting, working, finances, time spent with friends and family. It really IS a lot. No more or less than anyone else. I firmly believe we all carry something. Maybe that’s why God says “Come unto me… and I will give you rest.” Rest sounds good. It sounds lovely. When I look back at 2020 I don’t want to look back with anymore regret. Have I allowed myself time and space to grow? Maybe I’m like bamboo. From the outside and even from the inside, it doesn’t really seem like a lot is happening. But the foundation is being set for a massive sprouting of growth. Even that feels too future focused. The dominant 3 energy in me thrives there. I can focus and lock into potential instead of actual, preventing me from allowing the present hurt, grief, guilt and whatever other negative emotions are flowing forth to unfold in all their messy glory.
So what defines the present? This is a question I posed to a friend, although I asked it differently. The response really got me thinking. The present is both this precise second, and also the span of your life. It’s all present although you won’t know the immediacy of it until you die. That’s probably too heady for now, so I will table it. The present, being present, really refers to this set of seconds that I am existing in right now. Even that last sentence is now in the past and therefore not part of the present. Time is so bizarre. I am struggling, but working on being much more conscious of being in this moment, and aware of how I’m feeling. Not in a way that my feelings drive what I’m doing, but in a way that acknowledges the emotions for what they are. I’ve given myself permission to start forcing my mind and body to come back to the now. Not in a way to falsely create negative feelings, I don’t think that is healthy, but in a way to allow those dark parts to have their space and time to exist for whatever span they need to. This, I’m finding is the only way I can truly grieve. In the end, what I’m really trying hard to understand, is that you can’t put back together a broken life. There really aren’t pieces of my life that need to be put back together. What I’m really asking in that question is how to I put back together my pieces? How do I see the wreckage of the unhealthy choices, grieve the losses, and somehow bring those pieces of me back together? That really is the journey. That’s what healing is about. No matter what you’ve been through, seeing all the parts, and lovingly accepting them as a part of you is the secret. Journey on my friends.
As I’ve observed even the tiny sliver of your story unfolding, I’m encouraged. Honestly, I grieve the loss of relationship too. I squandered any opportunity to have a real, meaningful relationship with my brother, and that makes me sad. I have long been independent, for some reason seeking distance from my family while yearning for close, authentic relationships with them. I don’t know what the future holds – maybe an improvement in the area of family, whom I love dearly, even though I speak to them rarely – maybe not. Either way, I hope and pray you continue to heal, grow, and love on those boys of yours, pointing them ever to Christ and His transformative power.