Day 1 of 5: Braving a Broken Heart
You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
~Matthew 5:4 (MSG)
It’s difficult for me to write about the topics of pain, sorrow, illness, death, loss, grief, and mourning right now because I have personally been battling with all of these things in my whole soul for what seems to be an unending season.
Currently, I am part of my 93-year-old grandmother’s hospice care team. I am not a nurse; I am even better for her than a nurse because my motive is love. I would do anything for my dying grandmother who is currently residing with my parents.
My grandmother was like a second mother to me growing up. When I was a kid, I would ride my bike two blocks to visit her several times a week. She would give me a cold soda, which was awesome because my parents did not keep soda in our house.
We would sit on her old-school couch and play the card game “Rummy” over and over again; she taught me the game when I was around five-years-old. Grandma cannot play cards at all anymore; what I wouldn’t give to have one more game of Rummy with her.
Now that grandma is stuck in a chair all day long and is completely dependent on others taking care of her, my health-conscious mom is strict about giving my grandmother soda (just like she was with my sister and me growing up). So, I make sure I bring grandma some soda every time I am scheduled to care for her. Grandma may not be able to play Rummy anymore, but we can still sit, chat, and drink soda together.
Not only is my heart breaking while watching my grandmother literally pass away in front of my very eyes, it is also breaking over the tragic and sudden loss of Rachel Held Evans.
Last Saturday (May 4th), while caring for my dying grandmother, I found out that one of my greatest spiritual inspirations, and perhaps our generation’s most impactful voice in the global Christian Church, passed away at 37-years-old. “RHE” left behind a loving husband, a daughter who is almost one-year-old, and a son who is three-years-old.
Losing Rachel, who profoundly and effectively advocated and spoke up for many of us who have been bruised by the established church, is heart-wrenching and confusing for many of us who followed Rachel’s life and work closely (especially when it comes to reconciling all of this pain, sorrow, illness, death, loss, grief, and mourning with our faith; but as I said on Twitter the following Sunday (May 5th) after we lost Rachel:
Today I am telling myself that it’s OK to be sad & confused.
Life doesn’t have to make sense on this dreary day.
I don’t have to understand all the “why’s” and “how’s” right now.
If Rachel taught us anything, it’s that there is room for our doubt.
If you need permission today, my grieving and mourning friends; it is OK to feel all of your brokenness. Many of us grew up in a society that tells us to suppress, ignore and numb our sad and confusing feelings, but I am here to tell you today that not only is it healthy to allow yourself to feel all of the pain, there is also a major spiritual perk that leads to wholeness of heart again, and that is that God is always close to the broken hearted.
__The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
~Psalm 34:18 (NASB)