Have you ever had a broken heart?
I think most of us have, probably multiple times for different reasons.
When our expectations aren’t met and promises are broken we are left without a purpose, wondering what we did to get where we are, and not liking it.
So many times when something gets broken we don’t think twice, we sweep up the pieces and throw the shards away.
I think this happens with our hearts. We don’t want anyone to know how broken we are, so we try to make those breaks invisible and seamless. Somehow on this journey, we feel that broken things have less value.
I tried to hide my breaks for years, thinking that if I ignored them and hid them no one would know they were there.
My heart has been broken so many times that I don’t have a full heart anymore.
During my marriage, it happened early on. I had hopes that he would always love me, that I would be the princess and we would live happily ever after.
When those dreams started to die, I felt like my husband took my little glass heart and threw it down on the pavement.
As it shattered little shards of glass flew in all directions and some of the pieces were lost, they were too small to find.
I think the first time it happened I was shocked. He didn’t mean to hurt me, did he? I madly ran around collecting all the pieces I could find so that I could carefully glue it back together. I tried to hide and conceal all of the cracks so that no one knew how broken I was.
As I handed my heart back to him, I felt a little less loveable, as if the lost pieces made my heartless valuable.
Each time it got broken I would use a stronger glue, and I would try to reinforce it so that I wouldn’t lose any additional pieces.
My hopes and dreams became disappointment and fear. After years of following the same pattern, I grew timid, I closed my eyes , held my breath, gritted my teeth and handed it over cautiously; pleading with him not to break it again, hoping, this time, the outcome would be different.
My once unbroken, clear heart had been broken and so many times that the glass was uneven and not beautiful anymore.
You could no longer see through it, the cracks and glue distorted its shape and image.
Little did I know that each time my heart was broken I left more shards, shards that were dangerous. Shards that could bring pain and suffering to others.
Those shards became anger, resentment, hate and bitterness. There were times in my life when the world lost it’s color. When my senses became numb, and the daily pain swept away hope, joy and love.
When I started counseling and began recognizing that my pain and anger could be the end to my heart and soul I chose different.
I chose to forgive others, and to let God begin healing me, but still to this day every once and awhile I will find a painful shard. Those shards are trauma, triggers, loss, and pain that sneak in and try to steal my peace.
I know that if left unchecked those shards can hurt my children, my new husband, and my stepchildren.
I don’t always know what to do with the shards when I find them. They are painful and I know they have to be looked at. When I ignore them they become festering wounds that are even more painful. I have to turn them over to God.
As I found more slivers and handed them over I began understand that the entire time I was married I was handing my heart to the wrong person. I was handing my heart to a human man who has his own struggles, sorrow, and hardships to bear. He was not capable of being a good keeper of my heart. Nor was I a good keeper of his. We both needed to hand our heart to our savior.
There is a beautiful Japanese art form called Kintsugi, which began in the 15th century. It is an art form to repair broken pottery.
Rather than trying to disguise the breaks as if they didn’t ever exist, the art form uses the breaks as part of the history of the object.
They mix the lacquer with powdered gold, silver, or platinum and fill in the cracks. There is no attempt to hide the damage, the broken parts are illuminated and make the pottery worth more.
When I turned to God I wanted him to fix me, to make me perfect and seamless, but he, just like the Japanese, He saw the worth and value in my wounds.
Over time he has made my heart stronger, and opposite of what I believed I don’t love people less, I actually have the capacity to love more.
I have more compassion and empathy for others who are suffering because I understand pain.
My heart is a work in progress. He has filled some of the cracks in with a beautiful gold lacquer. Other parts he is still working on, he is making me whole again. He fills the seams and cracks but has left all of the damage visible. I am told that I am more beautiful and valuable that way.
Assignment for Healing: It is important to take care of the shards. Although someone else broke our heart, we are responsible for the small pieces that if left out will hurt people. If you harbor anger, resentment, and bitterness it is not too late to start finding and caring for the lost slivers. Step one is recognizing that our pain can hurt others. Step two is getting help from a counselor to help us work through our pain. Step three is making sure you are vigilant on finding and taking care of the shards.