The Inner Voice of Who Knows What

the pilgrimage: Henri Nouwen and my own topsy-turvy little heart

Day 22: Not right but good.

Henri, Stay with Your Pain:

When you experience the deep pain of loneliness, it is understandable that your thoughts go out to the person who was able to take that loneliness away, even if only for a moment. When, underneath all the praise and acclaim, you feel a huge absence that makes everything look useless, your hearts wants only one thing – to be with the person who was once able to dispel these frightening emotions. But it is the absence itself, the emptiness within you, that you have to be willing to experience, not the one who could temporarily take it away.

It is not easy to stay with your loneliness. The temptation is to nurse your pain or to escape into fantasies about people who will take it away. But when you can acknowledge your loneliness in a safe, contained place, you make your pain available for God’s healing.

God does not want your loneliness; God wants to touch you in a way that permanently fulfills your deepest need. It is important that you dare to stay with your pain and allow it to be there. You have to own your loneliness and trust that it will not always be there. The pain you suffer now is meant to put you in touch with the place where you most need healing, your very heart. The person who was able to touch that place has revealed to you your pearl of great price.

It is understandable that everything you did, are doing, or plan to do seems completely meaningless compared with that great pearl. That pearl is the experience of being fully loved. When you experience deep loneliness, you are willing to give up everything in exchange for healing. But no human being can heal that pain. Still, people will be sent to you to mediate God’s healing, and they will be able to offer you the deep sense of belonging that you desire and that gives meaning to all you do.

Dare to stay with your pain, and trust in God’s promise to you.

 

me:

Dear readers, I hope you all had a very merry Christmas. I did. : )
I write from Oklahoma City visiting my extended family, after a three-day car trip with the Mast Family and Olive the dog.

Now –
It’s time for some honesty.

When you experience the deep pain of loneliness, it is understandable that your thoughts go out to the person who was able to take that loneliness away, even if only for a moment.

Recently I got lonely. I felt like it was highly unlikely to ever have this healing I hoped for, that God’s promise of fulfillment may not be true, that this pearl of great price would never get to shine unless I took care of it myself.

I entered into a faux-relationship with a young man, who I knew was not right for me.
He was wonderful, still is.
Handsome, kind, generous, hard-working, lovable, loving – but not right for me. He allowed me a place to escape from my troubled heart, made me feel unconditionally beautiful, dispelled the fright of that loneliness. He took care of me, but was not right for me.

(By taking matters into my own hands, I cemented my brewing disbelief in the possibility of even God’s love as big enough to take care of me.)

Knowing that he would never be able to take care of me enough, or heal me enough, or fulfill me enough… But also knowing that the immediate gratification of his affection was the best thing I’d felt in a long time… I stayed with him for a while.

… your hearts wants only one thing – to be with the person who was once able to dispel these frightening emotions.

Exploitation is what happened. I exploited his heart and his company for the temporary distraction. I exploited my own heart by letting it feel so deeply and crash so hard. I exploited the grace of my community, by crying to them that I wished to detach myself from this boy, but choosing to go back again and again.

I finally let him go. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, willingly choosing to give up this person who made my life brighter, and gave me a place to escape my pain. I miss him every day, and the loneliness he countered reappears every day, and the choice to let him go is repeated fresh every day.

Now I live as somebody who has hurt. Not just been hurt, but having hurt another human being who I deeply care for. I wrestle now with knowing that this man has been scarred by my actions.

The person who was able to touch that place has revealed to you your pearl of great price.

He took care of that pearl for a while, he made me feel fully loved for a while, but I chose to let him go – to trust that God will take care of that pearl without this man’s heart, body, and words as the right mediator.

The pain you suffer now is meant to put you in touch with the place where you most need healing, your very heart.

This man has shown me how much love I need, how much loneliness really exists in my heart, how much room God has to enter in and begin to heal. Thank God that he was there to reveal this to me. But I regret so much that I hurt him in the process.

He was not right for me, but he was good for me. He was good in loving me well for a small amount of time, and revealing to me this pearl that I now know cannot be ignored.

Thank you for being good for me.

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One thought on “Day 22: Not right but good.

  1. Elaine Clymer on said:

    And God loves you more then anyone else. You will find that man someday. You are a beautiful person. Trust that God will help you find that person.

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