the letter that never got completed
And a dear friend had to break my heart again on this day. As I was thinking about her I remembered a letter I drafted to her a month ago which never got completed. I don't know if it ever will. I would like to share it here because it brought back a lot of memories, both good and bad, which are now a part of my life and I am not ashamed of it because I see God's hand in all.
Greetings to you from this side of paradise!
I’ve been reading The Sacred Romance and is so mesmerized by it. It’s as though God is speaking to me. It’s about tuning in to our heart and understanding all it’s signals. There is so much to share and I have not even finished the book. So I’ll share in part as and when I see how it fits into our own story. The words have such a funny way of speaking to our natural and spiritual condition at the same time.
Don’t you sometimes feel that life is so ambiguous? You know what I mean if you ever felt a sense of beauty in the midst of pain. One part of you aches so badly while another is caressed by a certain sweetness that you can’t fully describe. Our hearts are just divided. We have a certain knowing, no matter how faint, that there is something larger than life itself. Something of infinite beauty that was lost along life’s many roads. It’s almost like life is a fairytale. We seem to have a sense that things are not what they are supposed to be. Our hearts cry out for relief, for a glimpse of heaven, for the day that we can live happily ever after. If we’re honest, we would admit that we wish someone or something could make everything alright again. We find ourselves thirsting for something that we couldn’t quite put our finger to.
Could the story of our life be really part of a larger story? There is a rumor that the story of creation is at its core a Romance story. Could it be true that we are constantly being pursued by something larger than ourselves? Have you ever wondered why love is such a powerful force? People are willing to risk everything for the sake of love. If we reflect on the journey of our heart, the residue of the ultimate Romance has most often come to us in the form of two deep desire: the longing for adventure that requires something of us and the desire for intimacy – to have someone truly know us for ourselves, while at the same time inviting us to know them in a naked and discovering way? We are stirred and enchanted by a taste of beauty and intimacy that come by surprise. It reminds me of those days in our friendship. There were tears shed that were sad and joyous and felt not at all contradictory. It was said that there are two things that pierce the human heart. One is beauty, the other is affliction. Most of us has known beauty in nature, relationships and in the simple blessings of daily life. But then the arrows come and we are pierced. And while we wish there were only beauty in the world, each of us has known enough pain to raise serious doubts about the universe we live in. We are warned early in life that Romance has an enemy, just like every fairy tale has a villain. Something has gone wrong to destroy our perfect world and we now mourn that which was lost. Here and there the glory of former times shows itself. Beauty such as the touch of a lover, the smile of a friend, a heart to heart conversation with our father, the laughter of our children, a good book, a certain song, art, nature – they catches us by surprise and makes us wish for more. Are they evidences of a former glory? There seem to be something inside us that keep us longing for what could have been. But life’s many challenges have somehow managed to drown much of our heart’s longing for that something which we sense we have lost.
Affliction has a way of creating a certain message which we eventually believe to be the story of our life and forget the larger story. In the midst of our own heartaches and disappointments, we hear a voice calling us to place that last arrow in our heart and shove it cleanly through - to kill the tears of mourning inside that would have insisted there was something worth living for. Should we allow the haunting call of those times that we’ve caught a glimpse of heaven to be killed by the message of the arrows? Should we kill the longing, the desire of our heart? It will protect us from further hurt, no doubt. After all, nothing can touch us if we’re dead to it. But what good is life without really living? With our heart dead, can we really say we are living? No, I’d rather allow the loss I felt to flow in the waters of my own tears than to kill it. But most of the times we do not have the option of coolly accessing the situation and choosing a logical response. Life isn’t like that – the heart cannot be managed in a detached sort of way. If feels more like an ambush and our response is gut level. We may never put words to it. Our deepest convictions are formed without conscious effort, the effect is a shift deep in our soul. Commitments form never to be in that sort of position again, never to know that sort of pain again. It took us a long time to be able to take the risk to give our heart away again…….only to have it broken another time. And oh how deep the devastation we feel. We opened our heart only to lose it in exactly the same way we feared and now have to face the days ahead alone. Is it possible for us to risk opening our heart to love again? How many losses can a heart take? We feel like the fool, which is what we often do when we feel betrayed. And we never give them our heart again. Everyone has been betrayed by someone. Some more profoundly than others. Betrayal is a violation that strikes at the core of our being; to make ourselves vulnerable and entrust our well-being to another, only to be harmed by those on whom our hopes are set, is among the worst pain of human experience.
If we deny the wounds or try to minimize them, we deny a part of our heart and end up living a shallow optimism. The only way seems to be to kill our longing for Romance, much in the same way we harden our heart to someone who hurts us. If I don’t wan’t so much, we believe, I won’t be so vulnerable. Instead of dealing with the arrows, we silence the longing. That seems to be our only hope. And so we lose heart. To lose heart is to lose everything. The haunting of the Romance and the message of the arrows are so radically different they split our hearts in two. The Romance invites us to trust. The arrows intimidate us into self-reliance. Experience, no matter how accurately understood, can never furnish it’s own interpretation. The arrows seem like the truest part of life but they are not. The heart of the universe is still perfect love. Our creation is by love, in love and for love. We are relational at our core, made for relationships.
We come into the world longing to be special to someone and from the start we are disappointed. It is a rare soul indeed who has been sought after for who she is – not because of what she can do or what others can gain from her but simply for herself. Can you recall time when a significant someone in your life sat you down with the sole purpose of wanting to know your heart more deeply, fully expecting to enjoy what he found there? We long to be known and we fear that we aren’t what we should be. We are set up for a crisis of identity. So much of our perfectionism as an adult is energized by that image: never be in a place of need. We rarely offer the truest part of ourselves and so rarely feeling alive and connected with anyone. You cannot have intimacy out of a false self. There is no escaping your identity. You will not live beyond how you see yourself.
We long to know that we make a difference in the lives of others, to know that we matter, that our presence cannot be replaced by a pet, a possession, or even another person. The awful burden of the false self is that it must constantly be maintained. We think we have to keep doing something in order to be desirable. Once we find something that will bring us some attention, we have to keep going or risk the loss of the attention. And so we live with the fear of not being chosen and the burden of maintaining whatever it is about us that might get us noticed and the commitment never to be seen for who we really are. We develop a functional self-image. Again, what we are doing in this costume ball of life is looking to avoid exposure while at the same time trying to offer something that will bring us glory. But what God is after is us – our laughter, our tears, our dreams, our fears, our heart of hearts. We’ve never been wanted for our heart, our truest self, not really, not for long. The thought that God wants our heart seems too good to be true. We are surprised by the honesty of our heart in response to being pursued, enjoyed. We are just don’t think there is anything desirable in us. And yet, we want to be desired. God’s problem is not that God is not able to do certain things. God’s problem is that God loves. Love complicates the life of God as it complicates every life.
If we aren’t aware of our soul’s deep thirst, his offer means nothing. But if we will recall, it was from the longing of our hearts that most of us first responded to Jesus.
The letter ends abruptly here as something happened and I couldn’t go on. Maybe I will continue in the future but for now, I don’t have the inspiration to write. Most of it was taken directly from The Sacred Romance by John Eldredge. I merely put together whatever strikes a cord in me and to my circumstances and injecting some of my own words to give it a more complete picture.
Blessings and grace in abundance to you all.