“The most-celebrated musical composition, the most-noted painting and sculpture, and the most-read books are often direct expressions of the human awareness of brokenness.” ~ Henry Nouwen~ Priest, Professor, Writer
I am struggling with Brokenness today…are you? My heart is broken, has been broken for the third time in less than a year–each time by Family. It feels like my soul is bleeding; my chest and back ache from sadness, like those ads of “Depression hurts.” My mind struggles to focus. But my eyes have finally dried up enough to type this, obviously. The crying is fading as I focus my mind and get BUSY…which is probably a partial-cure for weepiness and the stifling effects of a broken heart. Hey, I’m going with that.
All of which sounds melodramatic and like I’m seeking pity…but I’m not. Simply put, we were kicked out of one family member’s house during a visit, a few weeks ago, and didn’t get to participate in the birth of a child because of it. In another, separately- sad event, we have lost three darling step-grandchildren due to another ended relationship in our family in the past month. So we are all trying to pick up the pieces; it’s not my sole corner of sadness. We may not see grandchildren again. Ever. And if we do, to some of them we will no longer be grandparents. We will be…what? Friendly senior- strangers? I think the term “disposable grandparents” fits.
So…back to the Bigger Picture and what you really came here to read–brokenness and how it may affect creativity! Examples:
- Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings was partly shaped by his WWI
experiences of battle, loss, comradeship, and the ultimate desire for Good to defeat Evil, though not without collateral damages (think of Frodo, forever broken and sailing away on the ship to be healed in
the West. Sounds good right now.)
- Beethoven’s deafness and many illnesses did not keep him from producing masterpieces of music. He railed against his infirmities and with a raised fist to heaven–even in his death bed–created anyway!
- So very many examples from the Bible: King David the Beloved Psalmist, whose father didn’t even think of him when the prophet came calling to see the many sons and anoint one of them to be king. “Oh yeah…I do have my youngest son…he’s tending the sheep. You mean him?” I’ll bet you can think of many others.
Then there are the not-so-good examples of creative people: Van Gogh, Plath, Poe, Thompson and other contemporaries–whose brokenness drove them to self-destruction. Note that the wise quote from Henry Nouwen above speaks of the “human awareness of suffering.” Not the being-drowned (literally, Virginia) or destroyed by it. So I’d rather not dwell on the Plaths, the Wolffs, and such.
See, I want restoration. I want to see healing. I need resurrection and redemption.
I’m not referring to the Tortured Artist idea, either. That suffering is a part of creating–even required or a “natural part” of creativity.
Poo. It’s a part of Being Human.
Even in brokenness, I still need to CREATE. Even if I’m not writing fiction at present, I’m making stuff. Photographing, painting, arranging, decorating, sketching, sewing. And lots of thinking and (my other sedentary past-time) making lists.
But frankly, healing the pieces of a broken heart is just…beyond my scope. I am trying to “go on.” I am trying to “get perspective.” Then I walk past their play area in the front room, or the toy spot downstairs. I see a little ball cap hanging on the hat-hook by the front door. And I start weeping again. Like today. Ugh.
We can’t physiologically CRY for too-long a time. It does stop because, physically and emotionally, we can’t maintain it. Thank God! “…the smaller study mentioned above uncovered another pattern about crying. If you are quite empathetic to the suffering of others, you may cry more frequently than the harder-hearted. People who are anxious or neurotic cry both more frequently and more easily than others.”
This isn’t new to me. I already know I’m neurotic and anxious (thus the bitten nails and the doctor who noted in my medical chart that it indicates “neurosis”) If I could change my spots in this regard, I sure as hell would. But isn’t it better to be empathetic than not empathetic? Perhaps there is that thing…Balance. Are you, like me, still working on that one? Sadly, some people who hurt people excuse it as the wounded one being “too touchy.” Well…boo on them.
Balance would include learning Toughness. “Strong and durable; not easily damaged.” Which sounds fantastic and is on my Master List of Goals for Living. Has been, for some time.
This is my truth today: taking one day at a time. Made ten sets of coffee bean bag coasters with a young friend’s help last week and now they are ready to sell either in a local shop or in my Aerie Images online Etsy shop = distraction from the broken heart. Staying busy–productive in my own way– definitely helps.
Today, it’s blogging…took me all day to do it, but I did it. Because, really, it’s not healthy to keep feeling this way. A sad heart, if suffered for too-long a time (whatever that time frame is)– is not a healthy heart. I can think of better, even fun ways to die than CAD (Coronary Heart Disease)–can’t you?
There is one way, and only ONE way, to really heal this cracked coronary and emotional center. JESUS. Yes, you atheists and agnostics heard me. I don’t care if you believe…he is the only answer. He’s not a formula. He’s not some Blonde Guy in a Robe with dreamy blue eyes. He may not be here bodily, but he is a Person. More than a force. He is Love. I met him a long time ago, and that was the first thing I noticed about Jesus. Somehow, he is God–and he is Ultimate Love.
And Love heals. Is he healing me? I think so. It still hurts and goes in “fits and starts” like the freaking retrograde of the planet Mercury. If someone in our family reads it and mocks me, so be it. But if it speaks to someone out there in a good, kind, hopeful way, then I’m glad it’s been shared.
You see, you are NOT alone. We are out here…those who will say they are hurting, without apology. Without asking for pity. Without judgement.
Stifle and stall, depress and destroy…or persevere and, eventually, prosper again–with a healing heart, a renewed hope. You choose. Healing. Hoping. Creating.