Friday, June 10, 2016

The Battle Between Head and Heart

Sometimes I feel utterly divided.  The chasm between my head and my heart can be so overwhelmingly wide.

I'm maybe a month away from being divorced.  There's so much that goes along with that.  My heart feels shame when those words leave my mouth.
It feels like fire on my tongue, and my heart breaks a little more every time I utter it.  Shame.  Anger.  Fear.  Deep and unyielding betrayal.  Grief.  Shattered trust.  I feel all of these things constantly, and often together.  It's completely exhausting and overwhelming.  Oh heart, you are damaged, but still beating.  Oh self, his darkened heart doesn't reflect on your own.  His sins are his own.  His adultery doesn't reflect your worth as a woman, a wife, a mother, a child of God.  Simply his own weaknesses and sin.  Dear heart, that shame is not yours.  You did not leave.  You did not give up.  You were not unfaithful.  You were not perfect, but you never deserved this.

My heart feels shame, but my head feels hope.

I know that sounds bizarre.

Here's the thing.  I loved my husband.  Deeply.  I hope he loved me at one point.  I'm not sure anymore.  But I am sure I loved him.  My head tells me that hoping he ever really loved me isn't enough.

"released" My head tells me.

Released from a man who probably never actually saw me.  Never saw my heart.  Never invited me to love that was strong and provided any kind of rest.  Released from love that was selfish and self seeking and self serving.  Head tells heart that it was good to love that man.  But that it's ok to feel release.  That I tried.  That I can't make him loving or strong or good.  That heart has a chance to feel something so much purer and more beautiful than love that is unsure and afraid of being despised and abandoned and ashamed.

My head and my heart aren't quite on the same page yet.  My head, that bastion of good sense and logic… head wants to let go of him.  Let go.  Let go.  Let go.  The constant mantra in my sensible head tries to get heart to do what it isn't ready to do.

Let him go.  Let it fall to the ground.  Let him walk away.  Do not give him any more tears.  Let go.  He is gone, and so is the life you prayed for when you stood facing him and said your vows.  He did not mean them.  Let go.  You deserve a man that means them.  All of them.  Even the unpleasant and hard ones.  Even the ones that require a silent death to self.  Let him go.  He's hurting you.  He's gone.

Oh, stubborn and faithful heart.  Broken and angry and grieving heart.  Heart that cannot and will not let go of that last fragmented splinter of hope.  The last splinter embedded deep within that causes ceaseless pain, but that is the last piece of what should have been.  My head doesn't understand my heart.  My head says that it would never take him back.  That trust has been shattered so completely that it would be impossible to put back together.  My head says that it knows that this treatment is so awful that nothing should entice me to reconsider him.  But heart.  Heart made vows.  Heart values family and  relationship above all else.  Heart still holds onto the maybe.  Even though it's harmful.  Even though it drives the splinter deeper.

"Let go" everyone says.

My heart can only answer "I want to, but I don't know how yet."

I wish I could somehow lay ahold of even a fraction of the ability my soon to be ex husband has to let me go completely.

And yet I don't.  Because letting go of a love that you promised to protect until your last dying breath feels like an unforgivable weakness.  And I may be a lot of things, but weak is not one of them.  My love is not weak.  My heart is not weak.  Maybe stubborn and imperfect and broken and grief-stricken. But never weak.

So I'll just keep letting my logical head keep encouraging my stubborn heart to let him go.  Because both my head and my heart know this truth-

God has better than this ahead.  Better than the hateful abandonment of vows and hearts and love.  Better than the fickleness and selfishness of this "love."  And as much as I'm ready to embrace the truth that God has better, I can't despise my heart for (however imperfectly) holding onto the most important thing.  After all, that is strength I can't claim solely for my own.  My heart, it is what God made it.  Strong and constant and true.  And I know now more than ever that those are qualities that are of vital importance in this life.

So head and heart, someday that chasm will close.  Someday you won't be at odds.  But I propose that right now, here in this moment, it's totally ok if you are.

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