June 5, 2009

It’s All Good / Patti Lamb

God’s love can heal a crushed spirit

Patti LambTo my friend, upon her heartbreak and separation from what she thought to be true:

These past few months have been nothing but turbulent waters for you.

I’m sorry about your breakup and I remember that, in years past, there was a time when I sincerely felt your pain. If your current emotions are anything like my feelings were back then, it probably feels like your heart has been drop-kicked into the nearest river.

Even in today’s world of advanced medical technology where almost anything can be proven with a series of diagnostic tests, no physical evidence exists of your broken heart. But you know it couldn’t possibly still be in one piece.

The heartache takes its toll mentally, never mind the damage it does to our tear ducts. I think the only healing ointment is time, family, friendship and, most importantly, God.

With true intimacy, we reveal everything about ourselves. We sort of lay everything on the table, good and bad. The most reassuring part is that the other person accepts and embraces us anyway.

Perhaps our quirks and idiosyncrasies even border on endearing. “Maybe there is hope for me after all,” we think to ourselves. For once, the fear of rejection is comfortably kept at bay. How refreshing.

But then something like this happens. Our hearts get heaved at mach speed into a brick wall. We second-guess ourselves and demand answers at once:

“What if I were more (insert adjective here)? Or what if I weren’t so (insert adjective here)? Would I still find myself alone?”

And when parting ways … well, there is no easy way. It stings.

I fondly recall the advice that my girlfriend from Boston once gave me. She said, “Everything turns out OK in the end. If it’s not OK, then it’s not the end.”

That thought has sort of stuck with me, offering consolation in times of abrupt endings that I never saw coming, whether layoffs or funerals.

Don’t think you’ve wasted the past years. No time is wasted when love is exchanged and cultivated. Love can last. I’m only sorry you’ve had this encounter with seemingly conditional love. I’ve been there.

The world can be a cruel place where mistreatment reigns if we let it. When you are at your wit’s end and conclude that all love is doomed to fatality, please remember that God’s love is constant and remains unchanged. It’s given me comfort to know that there is no rejection with God.

St. Paul wrote, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor

principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God” (Rom 8:38-39).

In our frail human nature, there is no perfect love. Many things separate us from our loved ones. Relationships can end over everything from money and misunderstandings to ambivalence, abuse and broken promises.

But nothing can keep us from the love of God.

Talk to him about your crushed spirit. He will give you the strength to forgive and begin anew.

And when you do find your missing piece, please keep in mind that God is the Divine Third. No twosome can be whole and lasting without the love of God.

You are always in my prayers. You are always on God’s mind. Always.

(Patti Lamb, a member of St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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