Tag Archives: heartbreak

Veil of Tears 90: Abandoned

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I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had left; he was gone. My heart sank at his departure. I looked for him but did not find him. I called him but he did not answer.” Song of Solomon 5:6 NIV

One of the hardest facts of life is that people move on. They may feel they’ve outgrown us or we them, or that there is too much distance or difference between us and them for any meaningful continuation of a relationship or friendship. Sometimes of course it is us doing the leaving behind.

Often these partings are the culmination of a slow demise, a difficulty communicating, or they may come after a break of trust. Other times it is a selfish move onto something or someone else who seems better, and we feel left behind, discarded, abandoned and alone, and often broken-hearted.

If we are abandoned and don’t see it coming, we can feel caught totally off-guard. It can feel like a catastrophe, as though the world were coming to an end. If it is the end of a marriage or relationship, it can also feel like a bereavement, as though half of us is missing. Like someone whose partner has died, we may well keep turning around to talk to someone who isn’t there. Devastated doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Some of us are abandoned by parents, either when very young, and put up for adoption, or later by needing to go into care. In the first case we probably don’t find out till later in life and have a great shock and a lot of questions to deal with, and in the latter, it must feel like the world has crumbled under our feet.

Even If we haven’t known any of these greater abandonments, we have surely all been left behind by someone we trusted or thought was our friend. However shallow or high the drop, the fall (not to mention the landing) is desperately hard. But perhaps at some point we can look back and see our abandonments with different eyes. Hindsight and time are great healers of course, so that is easier to do the longer it was ago. Maybe we can see a rescue or a release instead of a desertion. Maybe that relationship, that friendship or bad parenting was crushing us.

If I had not been abandoned myself many years ago, I might never have come to understand that greater and safer relationship in my life that I have with God. What a calamity that would have been! I will never make light of what I suffered in the aftermath of my heartbreak nor what any of us go through when we are cast aside, but I will begin to slowly and circumspectly rejoice that I have received instead a new heart, still scarred, but joined to my Lord, the living loving God of mercy who will never leave or reject me. To rejoice too in relationships that were made stronger in those years when I was at my most broken, and in the new ones that have come since.

It is certainly true that God can use all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose, as Romans 8:28 tells us. And we learn through these painful leavings and partings, whether of lovers or friends, that there is really only one person to be utterly relied upon, who will never leave us or forsake us.

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Pixabay

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74: Night Terrors (trauma trigger warning)

 

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When I think my bed will comfort me and my couch will ease my complaint, even then you frighten me with dreams and terrify me with visions, so that I prefer strangling and death, rather than this body of mine.” Job 7: 13-15 NIV

Given that Job had been through a set of traumatic losses, it is perhaps no wonder that he began to exhibit the symptoms of what we might well recognise today as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Two of the worst parts of this distressing condition are the reliving of the trauma, like a waking nightmare, and what we call night terrors, which are horrifically realistic nightmares, of such power that shake and scream in your sleep. In a bad phase, getting any real rest, let alone refreshing sleep, is nigh on impossible. I can’t help but feel this is what Job is describing here, it sounds so similar.

In any case, there is no rest from the horror of what he has been through. We might think he is mistaken in attributing this part of his suffering to his body, as it seems a straightforwardly mental disorder, but this is not the case. More and more we are finding that the body holds the memory of traumatic events and replays them, reacting in fight or flight modes. An episode triggered by a memory (this can be anything, even a song, a phrase, sound or taste that has some kind of connection to whatever happened to us) is intensely physical as well as emotional and mental. Trauma sufferers experience their pain holistically and it is one of the reasons it is so horrendous.

Another effect of great suffering and loss is that we lose our hope. “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and they come to an end without hope,” says Job, “…and my eyes will never see happiness again.” (Job 7: 6-7 partial NIV). Thankfully as we read Job’s story, we find that it does have a happy ending, since the second half of his life is doubly blessed and he receives a great deal more than he ever did before. But, perhaps tellingly, there is no mention of healing. I personally believe that Job’s wholeness is restored by and in his encounter with the Living God. Such an encounter, which chooses to meet us where we are without answering our myriad of questions; which chooses to show us the great I AM in all the Lord’s glory (and therefore goodness), is powerful beyond all measure and redeems all our suffering, perhaps just as much by a healing of our perspective as of our wholeness as physical, mental, emotional and spiritual beings.

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from morguefile

If you or someone you love is affected by PTSD do check out the help available via your medical practitioner/GP  Here is a useful link: http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/#.V2P6m8vSnIU

43: Trouble

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Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.” Job 5:7 NIV

Trouble sometimes takes a while to brew, we can almost feel it gradually rising, like the opposite of a flower coming into bloom. We steel ourselves perhaps, and try to prepare and protect ourselves. But there are other times when it comes upon us very suddenly, like a thief in the night, with no warning. We are hit whilst we are vulnerable, unprepared and shocked.

Bereavements, losses, betrayals, these can all be either long awaited, or horribly sudden. I am struck that these ways resemble the two biblical views of time: Kairos and chronos. Chronos is the seasonal, temporal, cyclical way of time, and Kairos is the sudden happening, the miracle “chance” meeting or opportunity. The flip side is that misfortune seems to work the same way, either building to a horrible nadir instead of a climax, or wrecking our lives in moments.

And whilst this is one of the incredibly positive and helpful comments made by another one of Job’s “friends”, Eliphaz, (seriously, you don’t want these guys anywhere near you when you are suffering), trouble is indeed pretty inevitable in this life. Chronos trouble we can kid ourselves about. We can believe we are getting prepared for a loved one to die, or a house to get repossessed, a business to fail or a child’s marriage to disintegrate, but in reality, when that wall crumbles, so shall we. Grief comes in so many shapes and sizes and I don’t care what the self-help guides and flow charts tell you, none of it is predictable. The only sure thing is, it’s going to hurt, and then some. And the Kairos pain, that feels like one of Wile E. Coyote’s anvils falling out of the sky? Yep, that’s going to hurt too. And both the trouble and the pain are pretty much inescapable.

So what do we do? Can we wall ourselves up against life, against the world? Well, we can try, but we’ll most likely end up trapped by our own fear and crippled by our own defence system. Really the best thing to do is to pray, and to live. Frankly, during some parts of life, getting through a day and still being able to breathe in and out at the end of it is a heroic and major achievement. But won’t God help us? Yes of course, and his companionship and his total understanding of suffering, grief and broken-heartedness will be invaluable. But whilst some problems can be avoided by asking for the Lord’s protection and grace, most of the time he will go through the trouble and the pain with us, not guide us around it. Because trouble and pain are crucial to the meaning of life we were talking about yesterday. If they weren’t, we’d be in heaven already. We learn to live with the cracks in our hearts and the holes in our memories and the pains in our bodies, and the loss in our souls. These are the deep dark places where hope springs eternal, and where grace creates a garden of beauty against a background of pain. This is where truth lives and angels abound.

 

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from morguefile.com