For The Aching Heart

For The Aching Heart

You. Yes, you. I see it in your eyes, in your half-hearted smiles, in your sighs . . . even in the very words you type to me across the internet, words that shouldn’t hold emotion at all. Yet they carry stories that I can read between the lines. 

It rains today, and I think about you. I think about how there is truly nothing I can say to ease any pain you’re facing: physically, emotionally, mentally. My mind runs to and fro in many directions, seeking some sort of knowledge tucked into a corner of this brain that might comfort you. But my heart knows that there isn’t anything there. I haven’t been where you are, and I may never be where you are. The seasons of my life are drastically different than the seasons life has offered you.

Just as there are no words to comfort your ache, there are no words to express my ache. Your story is being pieced together in a different way than I would’ve planned. Through the years, all of the stories I’ve written down have something in common: they work out the way want them to, and they end with contented characters. They finish with whole, strong characters who saw life get better, not worse. Your situation, a real life, messy situation, makes me – an author – step back and question the setting. The details. The “vocabulary usage”. The rain comes down in a more steady flow, and I move into editing mode, biting my lip at the way God has laid out your life. This causes a deep ache.

If it were sooner in time than it is now, say a few years ago, I might’ve spouted something off to you about waiting on God and letting Him have control. That’s good advice, but it is not a few years ago – it is a few years later and things have not changed. They have gotten worse. Not better, as I would’ve planned. As you, also, would’ve planned. Dark clouds loom outside my window and rain falls so thick and heavy that the horizon is fading to mist and fog.

My heart cries, how long, Lord? And I remember the king who cried out many a day in the Psalms, and how his seasons were unbearable more often than not. Somehow his psalms continually praise the name of the Lord. I remember the man who lost all he had and was sitting in a heap of ashes, yet he blessed the name of the Lord. How? 

There’s a YouTube link waiting for me in my email inbox this morning. I click it and though the song is beautiful in its own way, it’s the footage behind the lyrics that intrigues me. Over and over again, the potter in the video cuts, scrapes, molds, forms, and purifies this sculpture of a heart he’s making. I can’t help but put myself in the place of the sculpture first. How painful! How aggravating! Who would have patience for such a process? Then, I inevitably put myself in the place of the potter, being the artist and perfectionist that I am. Every single step in the process is necessary. If I am the potter, I am the creator, and in my eyes, all is going just as I want it to. I see the bigger picture. 

Perhaps He has called me here not to show me what the bigger picture is, but simply to remind me that there is one. There is hope. There is a reason to live . . . we were all meant to be by a good God and somehow, through the tears and rain, He is there. My rebellion, my anger – it all dissipates.

Hearts ache on this day, even as I type the words with stiff fingers just thinking about it. Your heart is still aching as you read these words. Nothing I have said has changed your situation. But perhaps rain and pottery has changed my lens, so to speak. A huge part of photography (and life, as it turns out) is perspective. How we see. 

You. Yes, you. Are you willing to see? Can we all choose to see?