My heart is bruised today. Like a physical bruise, I can go about my daily life, and most people don’t even notice – I can act normal. But the minute someone gets me talking, (presses against the bruise), tears flow. It’s not like a deep, bleeding wound where anyone and everyone can tell something’s wrong just by looking at my face (okay, for me and my face, it only has to be a paper cut on my heart for the world to know, I’m apparently pretty transparent, but still). For whatever reason, this is a bruise, and so I go about my day with a dull ache that can be ignored for a few hours at a time, but never for more than that.
See, I received some exciting, wonderful, scary heartbreaking news yesterday…and I’m hurt and thrilled and full of all sorts of conflicting, messy emotions. Sometimes life can be that way – chaotic and confusing. Right now, after spending all morning with teenagers, I want to curl up on my bed, lose myself under my thick blankets, tuck my knees to my chest, and cry into my pillow. Yesterday, when I received the wonderful news (and thus, the bruise), all I wanted to do was laugh and hug someone, because the news was that amazing and breath-taking. Seriously, I can’t wait to see how God works through this up-coming change! Wonders and miracles and (even cooler) such stories are going to come of this.
But now, a day later and having thought about the news a bit, I realize there is a bruise on my heart from it. Because it’s wonderful news, but it also means big scary change, and some pretty major loss in my life. I suppose, because it’s a bruise, I could go about my days and ignore the pain; after all, that is what I’ve been taught is “strong”. And we’re always supposed to be “strong”. And bruises are easy to ignore – until the bruised part of your body bumps into something (and that ALWAYS happens with bruises or stubbed toes, isn’t it?).
But I learned a long time ago that trying to always be strong – especially when it comes to my emotions – is not always a good idea. In fact, often, it is downright harmful. So I journal, and then call my best friend and soak the shoulder of her shirt with my tears.
Because, as painful as this is – I want to feel this. I want to embrace everything going on inside me. I want to know the joy, but that means also knowing the pain. And this is too wonderful of a moment to ignore the upheaval just to look “strong” or like I have it all together.
Besides, nowhere in the Bible does it say we’re supposed to have it all together. In fact, if you look at the characters throughout the story, not one of them (except for Jesus, of course) had everything all together. Jesus didn’t hold those who were pretending to have it all together. He touched and healed those who admitted to their physical pain.
And really, God gave us emotions. They are wonderful things. You CAN get lost in them, but so long as you use them healthfully, than you’re better off with them than without. God wanted us to experience joy and happiness – but those emotions are only truly sweet when you’ve experienced their opposites – disappointment and sadness. Think of it this way – you wouldn’t appreciate the sun if we never had night time, or a cloudy day. You need both. And to ignore only the “bad” or “negative” emotions – the ones we try to suppress and not experience – only deadens your ability to enjoy the good ones.
So embrace both – the joy and the pain, health and the ache of a bruise, the light and the dark, that you might understand the value and beauty of both. And yes, this sounds very “ying-yang” ish, but don’t take it that way. The good is stronger (and does win) over evil. Joy always has the last word. But you need a dash of the pain, you need the bruise, to appreciate the rest. I know, it sounds twisted, and if I wasn’t bruised right now, I’d probably be a whole lot more eloquent on the subject. But I’m not. This is me, raw, because I can’t think past the bruise at the moment. I’m sure I will in a day, because that’s what I do. Just not right now. And that’s okay.