Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I Can Do Hard Things

Words like these have carried me through entire days. On those particularly difficult mornings or afternoons, when the hollow loneliness catches up to me, when I'm reminded of the reality of this past year, the past five years, they are like a salve, an invitation to keep going, in faith, clinging to peace.

Because it is hard. There is nothing kind about divorce. It is sharp and unyielding; it burrows into you, into the sacred spaces, the parts you believed were safe. I have felt like a teenager again, all of the angst and the confusion, the bitter bitter sting of rejection and insecurity and exposure.The grace of God is certainly here, his kindness is all around me. He is the giver of beauty, and he has not stopped giving. But it's hard. It's so hard I want to scream. Sometimes I do scream. And I ask a lot of questions. A lot of "Why me?" and "Why does life have to be so unfair?" and "Will it ever get better?"


I can say this: I am getting better. I have gotten better. Divorce is a severing, a tearing, an open, gaping wound. Regardless of how good, or how bad, the marriage was, you lose a whole lot of skin in the ripping apart, and that inner layer is tender and raw and damn does it hurt. It involves grief, and while some choose to forgo the process, I am enmeshed in it. I have been weighed down by it. About eight months ago it was so heavy, so oppressive I never thought I would get out from beneath it.

I had always imagined grief like a set of stairs. You begin at the bottom, of course, with the agony, the heart pounding, the burning tears, and the tightening of every organ, limb, emotion. Your heart beats like a gloved fist in your ribcage; there is always a swift undercurrent of anger and sadness, just dig a little, it lingers behind every word, sharply inhaled breath, the circles I run in my own head. But eventually, despair recedes. Reality sets in. This is my new life. I can do this. You can breathe a little easier, the vice loosens. The climb takes work, but with each ascent the air is clearer, your lungs are fuller, and the view is more expansive. Progress. It is all progress.

It's a nice image, a hopeful one, and I guess in some ways it has been that way. What I didn't imagine was how many times I would tumble down that set of stairs, headfirst, and find myself on my face at the bottom again, bruised and bewildered.

Maybe this is all a little too vulnerable. Am I saying too much? Probably.

But there's freedom in the retelling. I'm not naive enough to believe I am all the way through, that this whole thing is behind me. It's simply not true. But I am part of the way through. And now, nearly a year later, I know I will not drown. I know I will be okay. I am better.

"Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed." (Hebrews 12:12-13)

Some of that has been the daily moving forward, the faithfulness in the small, waking up and going to work, caring for my little girl, making straight paths and walking down them, no matter how weak I feel. His faithfulness is astounding. I am looking back over it all—there are mountains of regret, and yet even those are stepping stones on this road extending out before me. He can transform it all, can't he? And he does. I was lame, but thanks be to God, to my community, to faithful friends, I am not out of joint. The broken bones are splinted, they are reforming. My wounds are closing. I am trying to keep my heart open, my eyes open.

I can do hard things. 

You can do hard things.

We can do hard things.

Thank you for walking with me.


  1. Your heart is beautiful and I love reading what is in it.

  2. Thank you for reading, Tres bien. It means the world :) Excited for your sweet baby to arrive!!!

  3. You are so beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing your grief and offering hope. You are a gem. I love you, friend.


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