No one enjoys pain. There is absolutely nothing appealing about the idea of being hurt. We’re instructed from a young age to avoid pain as much as humanly possible. That’s why when we trip we try to look for the least painful way to land. But, more than just being hurt, pain brings with it a pestering frustration. I had a friend who had broken his arm, and since I had never broken a bone I wanted to know how it felt. He responded by telling me that breaking his arm sucked, but it was the few months he spent in the cast that was the worst. What made it particularly hard for him was that out of frustration with the slow healing process he took the cast off before he was supposed to. He admitted to me that was a mistake because in the long run it ended up taking him longer to heal. He was just so desperate to be back to healthy that his shortcut ended up extending his circumstances.
Healing after a break up is hard. Healing the right way after a break up is even harder. But, what is the right way to heal? How you handle pain in general will decide that for you. Hearts are like fingerprints every one is different. The way you would handle a certain hurt will be different than the way your best friend might. Dealing with the repercussions of a break up now has given me some clarity I thought might be beneficial to share. Stumbling my way down this valley of heartache I decided to take a road less traveled among people my age. I decided to let it hurt.
The first response to any pain, physically or emotionally, is shock. The immediate response following is to comfort the pain. Like, when you get a paper cut the first thing you do is scream (to keep from cussing), then grab and squeeze your finger hoping that it will cancel out the pain. Breaking up elicits the same responses, shock then comfort. When My girlfriend and I broke up the first response was indeed shock, and pain, and heartache. The latter response was indeed as well to comfort myself. Here is where I decided to take a road less travelled. Most guys my age would have immediately looked for a rebound. They would have rummaged through the old little black book, and called the most recent ex-girlfriend or fling to numb the pain of loneliness. Or they might have called up the guys for a night on the town posting pictures on Instagram and Facebook of how much “fun” they were having. But, I decided against a rebound, or as I like to call them “storage lockers” because their purpose is to hold the baggage from the last relationship. I decided that I was going to do something different from what I felt was an appropriate response based on what the CW teaches on matters of the heart. I was going to run to God for comfort. The easy thing to do when a hole has been dug in your heart is to cover it with 2×4’s and leaves, then pretend the hole isn’t there. But, leaves wither and wood rots and that hole is still as deep as it was. Turning to God is not as easy. A mature relationship with God brings the understanding that He doesn’t just take you out of pain He guides you through it.
Selfishly, I wanted God to erase the pain. I wanted to wake up and not feel anything. But, more than that I wanted to be healthy. Which brought the hard choice to do the opposite of everything I felt like doing. I avoided rebounds and drumming up an aesthetically exciting social life. Instead, I let the pain sting. I let the exposed flesh of my open wound air out. I brought the pieces of my broken heart to God and kneeled before Him. I decided to wear my cast and let what was broken heal. I made that decision six months ago. There were days when only the words of Psalm 13 could express how I felt. “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” Allowing God to truly mend a broken heart sometimes means you have to be willing to sit in uncomfortable circumstances for longer than you may want to. There are few things worse than knowing that as you’re allowing God to sift through your pain the person you love is moving on. But, the reward justifies the means.
There is no easy road to healing. There is no shortcut to happiness. Healing means leaving the cast on as long as it takes for the bones to set. But, God is an expert at healing and His timing is impeccable. I’d like to tell you that six months later I am completely over it, and that it doesn’t hurt anymore. But I would be lying. As much as I want to be happy I have learned that happiness is temporary and healing is irreplaceable. What I may lack in cheerfulness I make up for in healthy contentment knowing that God is chiseling a stronger heart than the one that existed before. Those nights I want to cry out a Psalm 13 prayer I turn to Psalm 34 instead, “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” The road I decided to take in this break-up is indeed the road less traveled, but in the end it makes all the difference.