Today, on our way home from watching a sad movie called, “Between Two Oceans,” my husband asked me, “Do you ever feel like we don’t do anything that matters?” The movie we had just finished watching revolved around a lighthouse keeper. It was set in the early 1900’s. Lighthouse keepers were important and provided an important and pivotal role of warning ships at sea. Each night the keeper would climb to the top of the lighthouse and hand crank and light the beacon. What a noble cause.
Today’s world is much different. We are surrounded with an endless supply of items. Groceries, clothes, toys, gadgets, vehicles, you name it. We are inundated with information. We watch it on our televisions, read it on our mobile devices, and even wear it on our wrists. Among all of this chatter, it is hard to determine what really matters. It is hard to reset our hearts.
Hard until tragedy hits. Hard until you get that one phone call. Hard until the harsh, sinful world reminds you of what matters.
A couple weeks ago, my husband and I were having a blast. We had gone to a concert with friends, ate at a new and delicious restaurant, and celebrated his birthday with close friends. We were healthy, everyone in our family was healthy, everyone was happy. All was well. I remember thanking God at night those couple of weeks. God, thank you so much for this happiness. Thank you for keeping my loved ones safe. Thank you for another day on your beautiful earth.
Then a phone call and a text message came. A loved one had a seizure and was headed to the ER. Then another phone call came a couple days later. One of my siblings had a scary night and needed help. Then another phone call. My uncle had a heart attack. Then another phone call. A relative was back in the hospital. Then another. A close friend’s significant other had made some bad decisions.
Within a week, five people I dearly cared about were going through very difficult times. People that I loved were hurting badly.
It’s in those times that the world gets smaller. The constant chatter slows to a halt and all you hear are your loved ones’ words on the other end of the line. All you care about is how they are feeling. All you want is for everything to be better. All your heart does is hurt.
And hurt. And hurt. And hurt. It gets soft. It gets vulnerable. It gets sad. During times like these, I sometimes ask God the question we all seem to ask when something cannot be understood… Why? Why did these things have to happen? Why are these people hurting? Why is my heart so soft?
Then I get an answer. It doesn’t happen in an instant. I don’t hear a voice from above, booming and all-assuring. It happens slowly. It happens carefully. I start to remember why. Why life is hard and makes my heart soft. Why I hurt. Why I care.
I care because He cares. My heart is soft because we are put on this earth to be connected to one another. My heart hurts because it’s the only way that it will also be able to feel full. To feel completely full. My heart feels the pain now so that it can rejoice later. It gets soft so that I can be reminded of what truly matters.
Life can be hard and exhausting and disappointing and difficult. But it can also be beautiful and amazing and perfect in every sense of the word. When my heart is soft, it’s feeling what God feels. It’s also reminding me that I need Him. That I cannot possibly go through this world alone. It reminds me that you can feel and believe immensely in things even when they are not near.
So tonight, I’m praying this prayer… Thank you, God for making my heart soft. Thank you for making me feel. Thank you for making me care. It’s hard and it’s difficult, but it’s how you made me and I’m so grateful for that. My soft heart gives me a glimpse into what you feel, Lord, only I cannot begin to imagine how that is. I know you care about us and want the best for us. I know you are there for us no matter what. I know you hold us close when we are sad. Keep me vulnerable, Lord. Keep my heart soft. Allow me to feel so that I can be full again. All this I ask in your son’s precious name… AMEN.