Wednesday, 22 August 2012

For the Broken Ones

There are some times when words just fail.  When words are stripped away and you are left with nothing.  Nothing but raw emotion.  There are times and situations when raw emotion is the only thing you can offer and even that is not enough.  It is not enough to comfort, it is not enough to deal, it is simply not enough.

Sunset over Leeds rooftops
Sunset over Leeds rooftops
Sometimes the world strikes you such a blow that you reel backwards in shock.  And the world suddenly goes in slow motion.  Time seems to have no relevance.  It's hard to describe unless you have been there and felt it.  Perhaps the best illustration is the way that stubbing your toe really hard can make you breathless, speechless, and literally stuck out of time for a few seconds with pain.  Only it's a poor analogy because instead of physical pain, it is raw emotion that is so intense that it almost consumes you, so intense that it actually physically hurts as well.  Milliseconds can seem like hours.  Time passes but it means nothing to you because you are so utterly consumed by the emotions that are tearing you up inside.  How could any mundane routine possibly matter after what has just happened?

Leeds streets at night with a lamplight glow
Lamplight on a street in Leeds
Unless you've been in that place it may seem weird to you to think of drowning in emotions.  But you really can.  Anyone who has dealt with grief, abandonment, or any sort of real loss could tell you.  It really is like its own form of drowning.  Your eyes fill up with water and cloud your view of anything happening in the world around you.  You choke on tears and emotions.  It is actually difficult to breathe with the weight of the swirling emotions around you.  If breathing is difficult, carrying on with mundane tasks is nearly impossible.  Walking seems harder, slower.  Your legs, all of you, feel as though they are made of lead, and you cannot swim or slosh through the thick mud.  You feel smaller and colder and more alone.  Everything seems pointless.

Sometimes you just want to scream and make everyone stop what they're doing, and sometimes you just need a quiet corner to cry in unwatched.  How does the world carry on like nothing has changed when your whole world has shattered?  The world should stop with you, to witness this shattering.  Everybody and everything should just pause for a moment the way you need to pause and learn how to breathe again.  How can they not?  Why don't they care?  How can they not see the world the way you do with all these new priorities and heightened sensibilities?  What does it matter if the shirts are ironed, or dance class starts at precisely eight?  How can they think of such trivial things when the world is shattering?  It doesn't seem right that everything should be different but nobody else even seems to notice. 

You are angry, and heartbroken, overwhelmed and confused, hurt and lost, and sad.  So sad it hurts.  You feel empty, and sad, and scared by turn and then sometimes, inexplicably, you feel nothing.  And you don't know how to cope with it and there are no words to deal with it, but part of you desperately wants someone to come along with words that make everything make sense and feel better.  I know.  I've been there.  And I wish I could offer you the words that you long for, the words that make everything make sense and bring you peace, but I can't.  I can tell you that it gets better.  Slowly, it gets better.  Very slowly my faith saved me from drowning once.  That isn't to say that I wasn't mad at God.  I was.  I was angry for a long time.  But he was patient and slowly restored bits of me with small but important realizations of beauty.

Rainy night time street in Leeds
Rainy night-time street in Leeds
I learned perhaps the most important lesson of my life when I learned the beauty of life.  I learned to appreciate how precious it is.  How short, how sweet, how precious it is.  I learned how important it is to cherish people you love and truly appreciate every moment you have with them.  You must live as though each moment may be your last for you never know what the future holds.  It was the most painful lesson I've ever learned and also the most beautiful.

I began to appreciate the people in my life more.  I listened better, was more patient.  I was there for them and they were there for me.  And slowly I began to see beauty other places too.  I saw it in sunsets, and rain-drops that clung like jewels onto tiny tree branches.  I began to appreciate little moments and see little things that other people rushed passed.  And slowly, oh so slowly, I was restored.  I no longer felt like I was drowning.

Sunset over Leeds
Sunset over Leeds
The anger and the pain slowly faded.  The pain never really goes away.  It just subsides into a dull ache that is finally small enough to live with.  Some stories, movies or situations can bring back twinges of pain again.  Sometimes it is a song or a phrase that takes you back.  There is always a little bit of it with you.  But I've learned to accept that too.  Because we are all broken in our own ways.  And if the pain truly went away we wouldn't have the same compassion for one another.  It is what makes us real and human.  It is what gives us empathy and understanding and makes us better people. 

I can't make sense of it all for you, or take away the pain.  But I can promise you that it gets better with time.  So hold on, dear broken one.  Search for the little things that you can appreciate now, a kind word, a warm hug.  And slowly, you will start to see the beauty around you until you are restored.  Just hold on. 


  1. I randomly just found your blog - I really like this post, thank you.

    1. Thank you. I am sorry if you have experienced anything that allows you to relate to this post. I also realize that this is a very delayed response, my apologies for that. I hope you are living through brighter days now.