By Terry Shea
May 20, 2016
Posted In: Spiritual Wellness, White Rock
The title of this chapter from “Rising Strong” is The Brave and Brokenhearted. There are times when I get down to writing this blog and it flows out effortlessly. Follows… a quick re-write and one last check for typos, and I’m done. You know where this is going… this is not one of those times.
I think the title itself is what scared me AND the fact that we’d be rumbling with expectations, disappointment, resentment, heartbreak, connection, grief, forgiveness, compassion, and empathy. Seriously, why not add death and dismemberment? I know this book is about vulnerability, but do we really have to talk about those things? Within the first pages of the chapter I was deep into my own most recent story of frustrated expectations and disappointment leading back to heartbreak and resentment. It’s in those moments that I have to remind myself why I’m doing this, why I’m reading this book, teaching this lesson, doing this series. I want to live a wholehearted life and I can’t get there unless I grow beyond my own fears.
Wholeheartedness requires that I be conscious of the litany of expectations that hum along below the surface of my awareness so that I reality check what I’m thinking. I realized in this process that I had been telling myself a very confused story about some disappointments around my “family Christmas” this year. My expectations of that often less than wonderful event had predictably turned into a couple of very significant disappointments. Those disappointments and resentments were lurking in the muddy waters of unhealed family connections and I was hanging around uncomfortably caught between being right and grief.
What I was learning through it all, and really trying very hard to avoid, was that living with any level of intensity and honesty is to be vulnerable, is to risk heartbreak. Heartbreak is a pretty strong term and I reacted to it as an exaggeration. If someone tells me they are heartbroken, a little voice in me says, “Really? Seriously?” In a very strict sense heartbreak is simply the loss of love and that can happen easily. Circumstances can very easily affect our ability to practice and receive love; however, it is very hard to accept heartbreak as something real when we live in a culture that tells us to deny our grief.
If you are a first-born, over-functioner like me when grief comes knocking, you pretend you are fine, get things back on track, and any hint of any part of you is broken, especially your heart is sent packing. Well, not this time! Join me this week as we explore wholehearted living in the midst of disappointment and forgiveness.