I used to speak. When I did, I’d tell people how much God loves the broken. I’d tell them how huge is the heart of the father, and how he has a special affection for those who need him most.
It was only very recently that I realized I need to tell myself this truth. I’m one of those broken he so deeply loves. I realized I was broken, long ago. But I forgot how much God loves me in my brokenness. I forgot that he’s right there to help, not to condemn. He understands me better than I can possibly understand myself. He is especially patient and incredibly loving to those who have hit rock bottom and are looking for help to stand back up.
Lately, life has been getting pretty good for me. I will always have issues. But with a little help from a few good friends, I have created for myself an environment of peace. Literally. Physically. It is in that location, my place of peace, that I’ve begun reconnecting with God. It’s not that I didn’t reach out to him before, but my mind has been distracted and I’ve been very angry with people. The anger is, of course, an expression of deep pain.
But that anger didn’t lead me away from God. I felt estranged for awhile, but I never lost faith in him or stopped speaking to him. Nor did I get angry with him. I just felt so disappointed in the people who have abandoned me that there have been times in which I felt God must also want to abandon me.
I still have a lot of disappointments. I lost Bill Giovannetti, for instance. He was a second father to me. And since there will never be anything that will ever make me turn my back on my son, it has been particularly painful that Bill has turned his back on me. I have heard his reasons. As always, Bill is quite capable when it comes to being able to express his opinions in ways that my brain can comprehend. My heart just doesn’t get it. It never will. He meant more to me than I meant to him. That’s on me. I once again put a human on a pedestal. I have a habit of doing that. Not with many people, but with some. It is in my nature to find heroes. Bill was one of them.
Bill’s not the only loss, of course. There have been many others. The road back to where I need to be has been a very lonely road. I’m not saying I’ve walked entirely alone. Yes, there are people who walk parts of it with me. They are appreciated more than ever. But this is a journey that most people cannot walk.
So many have left my life, but I have come to a realization: I didn’t lose them. They lost me. Humans are imperfect, and all of us will fall in some way. If my imperfections have led others to stop associating with me, it is truly a loss for those same people, as they won’t be around to witness the ways God can lead any person – even me – back to a state of grace and redemption. I’m heading back to where I’m intended to be, and recovery is always a beautiful thing. It moves our hearts. The Bible is full of comeback stories after miserable failures. Non-biblical literature is full of the same types of stories. Those I knew and loved could have been part of my journey. I would have welcomed the help, had it been extended. Their support would have made this recovery effort quite a bit easier. But with or without them, I’m going to continue in the right direction.
I have been. I am. I will be.
Does it hurt? Yes. Very much.
Is it tolerable. Yes, though I’d prefer not to have to tolerate it.
And what will I say if, as I rise, they return? Welcome back!
Welcome back. Thanks for returning. I’ve missed you. My brain can understand why you left, even if my heart never will. But both are joyous that you’re here again.
And if they don’t ever return? I’ll mourn the loss. I’ll miss them. I’ll wish. I’ll hope.
God loves the broken in a very special way. Realizing that, and experiencing his love in a new way, has made it all much easier.