“Healer of Hearts”
hi, i’m claire.
I should start off by mentioning I’m an artist. I have a need to visually express my thoughts and my heart. Most of the time I do it in paint, but this time, I couldn’t find anything that could come close to expressing my sorrow; nothing seemed sufficient.
There is no pain in the world like the pain of loss. I lost my best friend and the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, and it feels like death. Deep, black, heavy death. The details of why aren’t so important. He’s alive and well, and an amazing person, but he’s no longer in my life, and there is a massive hole in my heart. I live with my loss every day.
Now, almost a month after we said goodbye I have days that I make it through without sobbing, and other days where I can hardly breath. I’ve been hearing words of wisdom, both from people and from the Bible that I’ve been trying to live my life by.
Let me share them with you…
Loss has to be recognized.
Sometimes we must live in pain to learn what God has for us to learn, but we are never alone in our pain. God always has a plan, and God is good. Many characters in the Old Testament understood what loss was. David was one who knew loss and pain. Job was another man who lost everything. I was thinking about their grief and about mine; what it means to grieve over loss of one’s love. I can’t really answer the questions for anyone else, but I know that it all has to be acknowledged. My loss, and whatever loss others face is real, and at moments engulfing.
The other piece of advice I’ve gotten a lot is to not ignore the pain. It’s best to embrace it. But in that embrace, it’s best to let it take control for a few moments, to cry, to feel awful, to scream and feel the loss. But we can’t live there.
I’ve taken to giving myself some time everyday to wish and bargain and hope and cry and then embrace the loss. After that, I’m learning that I have to give it to God. I try and find comfort knowing that God really is the healer of hearts. There are days when I have hours, and as much as I try, I can’t put it away. And I can’t give it to God, so I definitely don’t have it all together, but it’s something I’m working on.
God is my physician and Savior. He knows loss, and there is absolutely nothing biblically wrong with acknowledging that. Most of all, though, God has been telling me that He is there for me. I’m not alone. He brought me here, and he will see me through.
When I wasn’t sure how to express this, a phrase from the Old Testament came to my mind.
Job 1:20: ““Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship.””
Job did this after he had lost everything, his wife, children, money, land, house. Literally everything. That part about shaving his head stuck with me. The best way to explain it was that shaving their hair signified a loss, a physical showing of a personal loss. I figured it would give people who knew me a way to know that something was gone and missing. It would be a way for me to show that everything was not all right, but just like the hair would grow back my heart will one day eventually heal. (This is the main reason, there were smaller reasons like the fact that guys rarely like shaved heads on women, and right now if no man ever looks at me again, at this moment I’d feel just fine with that.)
All these thoughts occurred to me over a period of about 24 hours. Ironically, starting on the day that my ex-fiancé and I should have arrived home from our honeymoon. Without much debating, I committed to the idea of shaving my head, in honor of my loss and in the style of the Old Testament. Instead of trying to go to a salon to do it, I asked my friend’s husband, who I knew would do it and would be ok with the idea. After work, I
went and sat down on a kitchen chair at my friend’s house and let my mind stop while my hair was shaved away.
I had no hope it would look half way decent and honestly I hoped it looked awful. As he started I wasn’t scared and I didn’t want to change my mind. All of my hair was taken off and thrown away.
The next few hours, and the day, after I felt like I could breathe for the first time in a month. Finally, I wasn’t trying to hold on to wild hope any more. For the first time in a long time I was able to eat food without being ill, and something that surprised me most of all was that an idea for a painting grew in my mind. For the first time in four weeks, I felt myself come back just a fraction of an inch.
I am surprised by the fact I looked halfway decent with a shaved head. I hadn’t hoped for as much, and I continually get compliments on it. The whole experience has been a good one. Sometime in the future, my hair will be back and my life will be filled in a different way. For me, shaving my head is a way for me to share with people that I’m starting over, and my new start is missing someone, but everything has to start and end somewhere. And my start isn’t alone.
2 When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.