A Poor–Torn Heart–A Tattered Heart

The last day of January drifts down like dandelion seeds—it’s 63 degrees in our valley when I take Lucy Mae for her evening walk. The sun bookends my day—I drove to work at her leading this morning, and as Emily says, she flowed silver to the west as I made my toil under the harsh lights of the hospital. I watch her now, gracefully bowing low with a blush.  
We cross the bridge and they are there, looming above. The cold, unforgiving place where steel meets earth.  I try not to look, but a sound echoes down from up the tracks and I wonder what they must still be doing up there and the thought wracks through me and I swallow the sob with a prayer. Look up at the sky.
When the boys came home from school today they told us about a terrible accident their bus happened upon. The kind of accident that is a mama’s worst nightmare. And it’s my old nightmare and past wounds start to bleed anew for the pain of another.
I take Teddy to his eye appointment and he can’t get the lens just right and his fists are clenched tight…I feel my whole body clench too. He doesn’t want to do this thing, but I know it’s best for him and I am having a million arguments with him in my head…when I remember.
There is a mama who won’t have her boy tonight.
And the agony of that runs through me and all I can do is pray and my patience is fresh and new. This isn’t the end of the world. And the other mamas who wait with me to see the doctor want to know…had I heard…? Do I know…?
And it feels wrong to talk this way about something so hard, something so fresh…while there is blood still on the tracks. But we mamas, we can’t help it. We need each other during these times.  And Jeff meets me so he can take the boys to music lessons and I drive home with contact lenses in my pocket.
And now the sun. Goes down again.
I no longer ask why, I know this world is broken. Am I not studying the book of James? And doesn’t he say right there to be patient in the face of suffering? To consider it pure joy?
I watch the dipping sun make silhouettes out of leaf and branch and I think how beautiful this is—this place of hiding. When I only see the shape, when I only see in shadow…how easy it is to hide. But I know that the true beauty is revealed in the fullness of the thing; in the touching and tasting and the scent. To understand…to know full beauty…I must experience the whole. When the full color flashes light there is beauty—aching, pounding, pulsing, heartbreaking beauty.
There is a promise of comfort. There is the promise of healing. But my stubborn heart is a sponge and it expands as the grief of right now collects in the pores. I mourn with those who mourn and I hear the earth cry out long in bittersweet welcome. I feel the tremble of fear. And we are all one as we mill around this fountain of sorrow.
And isn’t this the hope we hold in our hands? This: that we are never alone…That hope is what we have to give and we give it while bowed low and with trembling hands. And , as Henri Nouwen says, when we willingly enter into the sorrow we deepen the pain to a level where it can be shared. This is not the end.
This is not the end.
And it’s so hard, so frightening, to step out of shadow and full into this sorrow.

with the amazing Jen:


  1. says

    I love how you’ve written this out. It meets me right where I am. It’s better, I think, to feel things deeply and all at once than to drag them behind. May God bless you and all those who grieve.

  2. says

    I can hardly breathe, thinking about that other mama. This is not the end. This is not the end. We need to keep reminding each other of those words.

    And this, “But I know that the true beauty is revealed in the fullness of the thing; in the touching and tasting and the scent.”

    Beautiful, Laura.

  3. says

    I hear you, Laura. I’m out of town, but my kids told me that two kids from school died in a house fire. They were pretty shaken up when I talked to them last night.

    Also, I had missed your previous post, about your childhood friend. Oh, oh, oh.

  4. says

    Yes you are right, this is such a painful, broken world, it amazes me how deep the pain can sometimes go, but there is also love, joy and peace found somewhere, maybe floating alongside our relaity exists the Kingdom of our God and saviour.

    Those sweet children no longer have to live broken but their families are left now to grieve, I’m praying that each of those connected most intimately with the accident will find that place of healing, love and peace once more.

  5. says

    The only way I know to reconcile the pain in this world and the Loving Father is in believing that everything He allows to touch us is the very most loving way for us to be transformed into the image of His Precious Son. When we look at Christ’s mission to save us, He knew the pain He would encounter/endure. His Father knew. And yet, because Christ’s Love was so great, He endured even the greatest pain–that of having His Father turn His back on Him, so as not to look upon His burden of our sins–the first time they had been truly separated. If we didn’t have our hearts broken by the things that break His Heart, how could we come to truly know Him? “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death”. The more tender our hearts become as we weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn, the more we look like Christ, the more compassion we have on the lost, on the suffering, on the broken. As hard as it is, His Grace is so abundantly sufficient that the very act of walking through suffering brings Him Glory and draws other to His Heart. It doesn’t lessen the pain. It gives the pain purpose.

  6. says

    I was asked today, “How do we make the gospel real?” It is as you said, we hold the Hope in our hands. And it’s when we actively share it with others that it becomes really real and something more than a fairytale.

    Love is the action.


  7. says

    I’m lifting up this family and your community, Laura. Your words bring heartache to my heart, but it spurs me to pray, to pray that all of you would feel the presence of His Wings herding you, bringing comfort in the face of such loss.

  8. says

    Laura, how you pour your heart out in words and in photography, and in the pouring you create beauty! I love your honesty. I love how you are not afraid to reveal it. How much our Father delights in you…..thank you so much for going to my blog….I have not written anything since the last date published….confession—I am blog iliterate. I am in the process of hiring someone to help me and moving to WordPress…I would so appreciate your prayers in this process! I want to honor and glorify Him….Blessings to you beautiful Laura……Cate

  9. says

    this is beautiful and spot on for that achingly beautiful entering we must walk to truly live each breath in, for and with Him…but the heart it does scream for a break, a distraction, another lesser? way…

    just last week a young couple from our church buried a second son, lost a second time in surgery to fix a congenital heart defect & it is the jolt, the perspective and too how even here He asks for all their pain to be His…to find His goodness even here & they respond and I am humbled…undone.

  10. says

    Laura–I can only imagine the depth of the pain by whatever this awfulness is….tears abound while I read this. But we all walk through those times and I just don’t get it–
    It’s so hard to believe in the dissonance of what God says and what we experience. But God, but God…that’s what is true.
    I’m sure you are a comfort to others–that’s the gift….God bless you.

  11. says

    Oh, Laura…so glad, as you put it, that we are never alone, even in our deepest sorrows…praying God’s comfort for the families, community and you as you are reminded of your friend Davy. Hugs and love to you.

  12. says

    Thanks for stopping by from Amy’s, Laura. I have felt this too, the fear of stepping “out of shadow and full into this sorrow”. You put to words so perfectly, how beauty and suffering are intertwined.

    I also clicked the link to your other post and your words about asking your boys who they are NOW really spoke to me. It is something God has been nudging me about with my own girl. Thank you for this 🙂

  13. says

    Oh, Laura — feeling this with you for so many reasons. Yes, we are never alone. And that shared sorrow is sweet. It’s in the sharing that we really see His hand. Thank you for this. Praying with you.

  14. says

    Beautifully, painfully, tearfully captured.

    A wise teacher who endured much taught that to “consider it all joy” (as it says in Colossians and also in James, as you point out) does not mean it IS joy, but that we treat it the way we treat a joy, expectant that there is something it in for us.

    These would be mere words in a student’s notes except for life bringing it home and the opportunity to discover how rich and deep the truth! You have underscored it here.

  15. says

    So sorry for the sorrow in your beautiful mother-heart. The group with whom I’m studying James viewed the third video yesterday, all about anguish and joy dancing together. It was so perfect and well-timed that my eyes kept leaking through the whole thing. That’s how it is in this life, isn’t it? Roses have thorns. May you find hope, help, and comfort as I am in James, the homework, the teaching, and the women in your study. May you know the blessing Christ promises even in the mourning.

  16. says

    The torn and tattered heart, all sponge as it soaks in the grieving and expands. .
    Praying for this family as I read your beautiful words here.
    The contact lens will help us see here on earth, but His ways and plans are achingly difficult to understand as we walk here in the mist of life.

  17. says

    My heart aches for your community. We’re doing 1 Peter in church and it is full of joy in the middle of great suffering. It’s so hard, though.
    Thank you for writing this.

  18. says

    A mama who’s boy will not be coming home tonight. How that tugs at our heart strings. May the God of all comfort comfort their souls and bring them peace.
    You boy will get it right soon. He is a blessing to you and you to him.

  19. says

    “But I know that the true beauty is revealed in the fullness of the thing; in the touching and tasting and the scent. To understand…to know full beauty…I must experience the whole.”

    I love all of this post, but these lines are my favorite. So beautiful, Laura. Praise God for your compassionate heart.

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