How can you mend a broken heart? How can you stop the rain from pouring down? Rhetorical questions, both with the same answer: you can’t. Hearts are continuously bruised, stretched, opened, cut, and broken.
Life brings hard situations. We have heart-felt emotions. Cut to the heart. We describe someone as having a big heart, or her heart is in the right place. It broke my heart to see my dad shrivel away. His big personality and big heart shrank inward like a three-day-old helium balloon. Instead of his usual smile, he’d greet me with a grimace. In place of his greeting, “How’s things down at the bank?” he’d blurt, “I hurt.”
His words and his voice were like slivers of glass, piercing my heart. Often I’d turn away, helpless to relieve his suffering. As if by not looking, I could make it go away. Denial at its finest. Jump into the river head first and hope you don’t hit a rock. I can’t help but look back and think, Next time I’ll do it better.
I learn from every situation that’s thrown my way. The next time my dad starts declining, I’ll be more compassionate. The next time my son dies, I’ll talk to him more about the dying process. Life is a continual learning process, and the learning curve is steep. I feel like I’ll never get it right. I take on a lot of blame, forgetting the things I do that are right. Like taking my dad to the Sunday swap meet once a month, letting him walk around by himself and chat with his buddies Like being willing to go on several errands for my mom, even though it was my day off. Like refraining from complaining to my daughter and son-in-law that they’ll rip my heart out when they go on the mission field next year. Like keeping an eternal perspective when thinking about how much I miss my dad and my son.
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