letter to the broken-hearted

Dear friend

How do you stop your heart from breaking? Every moment, the silence rips each piece of my being into a million pieces, with no promise or hope of mending. I try to hold it together, put on the bravest of faces, smile to all who are familiar and yet within lies a hurt so unbearable that my strength is but a mere shadow.

I tell myself that it will get better with each day and I hope to fight a winning battle at the break of new dawn. Then I awaken from slumber and the hours ahead feel like hell.

How do I fill the void that’s within, when all focus and distractions have abandoned me? I know what needs to be done but my capabilities struggle and fail. There is no comfort except for the assurance from the one I love… but when silence is the only sound, all sanity, resolve, confidence and everything I know leaves me…

And I’m left with nothing but the unbearable heaviness of being.

She broke up with me. No, more than that. She broke me.

How do you live when your person has been shattered into a million pieces?

*

I logged in to my email account, only to read a dear friend’s heart-wrenching note about how she got dumped. The relationship seemed so magically beautiful when they first met and then, a few weeks later, with no warning whatsoever, the other person ended it.

‘I never told anyone this, but I think I found The One,’ she confided in me. ‘It’s hell. I don’t know how to live from here onwards.’

This was just yesterday. A few days before, I received a text message from Mrs Couple. She had just got her separation papers and the divorce will be made official in a matter of months.

‘What do I tell the kids? The truth? A lie? What?’ Mrs Couple asked me. ‘How do I explain to them that Daddy won’t be coming home? And me… how will ever believe in love again?’

Then there are the two chaps I caught up recently, both getting over the girls they had been dating for months.

‘Every day is a fight to resist making contact with the other person,’ they said. I looked into their tired eyes and wondered when they last had a good night’s sleep.

Deep in pain, they just wanted to know one thing.

‘How do I get through this?’

*

What do you say to a broken heart? How do you tell a person that everything will be okay? When you’re deep in pain and can’t see past the bleeding wound, it’s almost impossible to imagine the day it heals. It’s too surreal a hope.

‘How did you get through your pain?’ the friend who wrote the note asked me.

‘God,’ I said.

I knew it seemed too simplistic an answer but like the very breath on my lips, it was through intense pain that I found my way to recovery through Him. The drugs didn’t work, neither did the alcohol, or physical pain of any sort. When I came down from my high, reality – with all its claws – was waiting. God changed my reality. And that was a fact.

‘The Dream Maker huh. Why do you call Him that?’ she asked.

‘Because the day I found myself broken, when all creativity had died, when my dreams were snuffed and tomorrow was too painful to imagine living through, He came and gave me new dreams. He took all the pieces of me and over the months, knitted them together with a love that I couldn’t imagine existed.’

‘I’m too proud to ask for help,’ she replied. ‘I think it’s hypocritical if I go to Him when I’m all bleak, only to forget Him when all is well.’

‘You won’t forget Him,’ I said, ‘How do you forget the One who was there when no one else was?’

I didn’t. He’s all I have.

*

Humanity lies bleeding at my doorstep. I want to help, I want to reach out and give them hope, love, riches… anything to ease the pain but I look at each and every one of these people I love and I realize, I can’t.

I don’t have the power to make them dream again.

*

My dear friend

I wish I could wrap you up in my arms and love you till the pain eased.

If I could…

I’d take the tears you cry and bottle them because they are precious.
I’d take the colours of the rainbow and knit them into your soul.
I’d take the wind and tie them to your spirit so you could fly.
I’d take the rain to wash away the darkness in your being.
I’d take your hand and just be there whenever, wherever.

If I could… but I can’t. So instead, I’ll write you new dreams, re-write the stories of the life you know and trade it in for the life you want to have. I’ll carefully seal these in an envelope and place it in the hands of the Dream Maker. Then as you lay your head on your pillow and finally fall asleep, tired from the fight in your mind, may you meet the Dream Maker.

And one day, you’ll smile again.

I love you dear friend.

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before all things lifeless

‘He’s brain dead,’ Soft Speaker choked back her sobs. ‘The doctor told me to gather the family around and decide if we want to pull the plug on the support systems… I don’t know what to do.’

There were no words I knew then to say how I felt. It was all too sudden. Just 7 days ago, her father was getting ready to watch the soccer match when he suffered a severe stroke. Soft Speaker was in her bedroom trying to sleep but heard unusual muffled sounds coming from the living room.

‘He was gagging and flailing his arms when I came out, and wasn’t responding to my voice. I called the ambulance and by the time they arrived, he was still.’

They rushed him into intensive care and his condition stabilized but on Sunday, his brain began bleeding again.

‘From that moment on, I felt as though he wasn’t around anymore. His body is still warm but… where is he?’ Soft Speaker said, ‘and I miss him so much… I can’t imagine not having him around the house.’ Her face crumbled as she hugged herself tightly.

‘I want to believe that he’ll be okay but everyone around me seems to have accepted that he’s gone.’ Looking up at me, she asked, ‘Will you believe with me that he’ll be okay?’

And there in front of the glass case that sealed her father shut from the world, we hugged, clinging to each other for strength. Together, we willed ourselves to see past the wires, tubes and machines that surrounded her father. We chose instead to see the man who easily laughed with his family, grumbled when things didn’t go his way and cooked for his family.

‘I didn’t even talk much to him that day he came over,’ she said as we pulled away.

‘Don’t… don’t start regretting the moments that have passed. Be glad instead that he was close to you, that he had the chance to be with you and play with your son. You guys had, and will still have, great moments.’ I tried to encourage her. I wasn’t sure if I even believed what I was saying.

We donned our surgical masks and sanitized our hands before entering the glass room called the intensive care unit. It was cold but I wasn’t sure if it was the sad people that filled the corridors, their desperation for a religion to make a way of hope, the clinical and cold look of all the nurses or the silent, unmoving air all around.

Looking down at her father’s face, the tears began to well up in my eyes as I heard a song echo in my mind.

‘Breaking the curse of our condition, perfection took our place
When only love could make a way, you gave your life in a beautiful exchange’

– Joel Houston

‘We have hope,’ I whispered, ‘because we have a God that traded places with us at the cross. Let us not be awed by the death or hopelessness in this storm. Let us be mesmerized by the One who stilled that storm with one word, who raised a dead man with His voice, who says that He’s the God of our moments – our here and now. Let’s see Jesus.’

Soft Speaker nodded, her gaze sweeping over the machines the beeped rhythmically before coming to rest on her father’s face. She finally looked at me and smiled.

‘Thanks for coming down. It means so much to me.’

‘How could I not come?’ I answered, ‘you’re my friend.’

*

‘The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.’

– J.R.R. Tolkien

In history’s darkest hours, a man kneeled silent in a garden. Under tremendous pressure, torment and pain, He cried out for a way, any way but that which His father had asked Him to take. It wasn’t easy and twice, He returned to His friends to ask for support… except that each time he went to them, they were asleep. They couldn’t stay awake long enough to be there for him. There was no one to turn to. This was a choice He had to make on His own.

‘Beneath the rubble of a fallen world, He pierced His hands. In the wreckage of a collapsed humanity, He ripped open his side… He gave His blood.

It was all He had.’

– Max Lucado

His very act on the cross re-wrote history.

Today, as I traveled home, I thought back to that scene. That singular moment in the dark made me realize that we need not have our dark, lonely moments. When Soft Speaker needed people, they came forward. When she needed hope, there was reason to believe. All these things… that man in the garden didn’t have. He gave them up so that years later, we could hope.

I will keep my promise to Soft Speaker. I will believe with her that life can blossom in the dead earth. I will stretch forth my hand and hold hers, as the Dream Maker embraces our world.

I will believe.