When my daughter moved in with her step mom at the age of sixteen it felt as if a giant daggar had been thrown through my heart with such force it broke the skin on my back.
When I accidentally told my father to shut up when I was a chatty seventh grader on the phone, the welts I ended up with- were to be expected. Instead of focusing on the pain of explaining welts to my peers in gym class I opted out and because sitting was too painful I decided it was time to figure out how to be more perfect.
After my mother lost her battle with breast cancer I decided the grief might never end so instead of feeling any worse I became a vegan and volunteered at the Cancer Society.
When a plane crashed with four people I loved- less than a year after the loss of my business, marriage and estate I felt like God had left the planet instead of giving up on faith I got busy – launched a company and enrolled in getting my Masters.
When I was called a liar after sharing a family secret I realized truth is painful and can get you booted from community instead of marinating in the feelings of isolation I followed suit and pretending as if nothing happening I shoved my feelings down so far they became invisible.
When I found my signature on a document which I’d been told was something it was not -instead of feeling like beating the shit out of my partner I got busy and cleaned up the mess…it took a couple years and by the time it was cleaned up all trust between the two of us had evaporated.
When my son got in with the drug crowd and flunked out of school – I felt like a failure and because feeling like a failure after you’ve lost everything you once believed mattered-isn’t fun -I went to work future tripping, plotting and planning on how I’d get that kid out of that neighborhood and somewhere he could wake up.
When someone I loved pushed me and went ballistic- I swallowed my fear and reminded myself of the lessons I’ve learned so far…feelings can’t always be trusted. I toughed it out I just needed to tough it out and who knows maybe I deserved it.
I never planned to be terrified of opening my heart, strong men, vulnerable situations, feelings or people in general.
Matter of fact early on I was a loving, hilarious, open book who trusted everyone and believed everyone had my best interest – at heart.
Then life happened and I learned differently. One painful loss after another taught me to be careful about feeling or being vulnerable in a world where hearts and people don’t seem to be nearly as important as I was led to believe when I attended church.
Somewhere along the way I figured out the the safest place for me to live would be my head.
Thinking was a lot safer than feeling at least from what I could tell. And that began a journey of doing life from my head not my heart all because it felt a whole heck of a lot more stable, peaceful and safe.
It’s amazing how safe you can feel when you are busy thinking about things, plotting, planning, future tripping and doing …Of course there is a downside to being locked away from the present moment in your thoughts – detachment, aloofness, dismissiveness and a host of other verbs that aren’t necessarily conducive to intimacy, being known and deep and abiding knowing of others.
The journey back to my heart began when I woke up and realized that life in your head is not the way God meant it to roll. Feelings were designed to act as our gps and life was meant to be experienced every precious moment of it- the good, exhilarating, hilarious and the painful.
Yesterday I was reminded I’m still on a journey back to my heart. I’m not all the way there. I can still be terrified of things and people who make me feel vulnerable and needy. Trusting is still something I come to slowly and over time.
Feeling bad is something I’ve had to make peace with. These days I’m mostly okay with disappointing people if it means staying true to how I feel and what I believe. And I’m fairly comfortable opening myself up to be found out to be not quite as smart, courageous, faithful or funny as others imagined. But somedays I’m terrified…terrified of opening my heart wide open and being rejected or worse yet shut down, or abused emotionally or physically.
Thankfully most of my friends understand I’m a piece of art- still in process.
Grace. I need the grace to be a girl who is on her way back to living heart wide open in the moment courageous and trusting …I’m not quite there but with God – I hear…all things are possible. And today…well my heart is wide open and I’m only a little bit terrified of being vulnerable and entirely present in this moment…with you…