How Much Can a Heart Hold? (Written in March 2014)

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I’ve been putting this post off for the best part of a month – but considering that it’s Valentines Day related, and we find ourselves in March, it’s probably about time to conquer the topic & move on.

Before the 14th of February, I had planned to write a post about embracing Valentines day as an excuse to love above and beyond our usual ‘capacity’. While I still believe this, Valentines Day came and went, and I learnt something new: how much a heart can hold.

Our hearts are something pretty personal – they feel differently, they hurt differently & they’re made happy in different ways and by different things. This Valentines Day, my heart, which has in previous years taken a ‘blah’ attitude to Valentines day, was ready to embrace it, and instead it got a kick in the face. Not from my boyfriend… just from life.

There’s no tidy segue into this, so I’m not going to try and make one. This Valentines day, one of my friends unexpectedly passed away. I’m 20 years old, and so was she – 3 weeks away from her 21st birthday. It hit my heart like nothing I’ve really experienced before, and left me with a tonne of questions that I can’t answer. Why am I writing this? I’m writing this because the number of feelings that a heart can hold has shocked me over these past few weeks, and somehow writing helps me wonder.

Nobody ever wants to talk about pain… who would? The day after Valentines Day, everyone asks you ‘what did you get up to?’, ‘did he take you out somewhere nice?’, ‘did you get flowers?’ In actual fact, yes he did take me out for Valentines day. God knew I’d need to cry on Valentines Day, and I’m guessing that’s why we ended up going out the night before. He did buy me flowers, and they were absolutely beautiful. So yes, the ‘Valentines’ part of ‘Valentines Day’ was amazing – thank you for asking. My heart didn’t, & doesn’t know what to feel.

What I find most puzzling, is the fact that I was able to feel incredible about the ‘Valentines’ and terrible about the ‘Day’. I still find myself emotionally confused just thinking about it. The question that keeps popping up in my head (about everything, not just this), is ‘is it ok?’ or ‘is it normal?’ – and yes, it is. But does it feel that way? Not really.

So if our hearts feel differently, hurt differently & are made happy in different ways – then surely it’s normal for us to grieve differently, and think differently, and compartmentalise… differently? I guess that makes this ‘normal’ for me

The best comfort I have in this is that if I have experienced something, then so has someone else. We might deal with it differently, and we might not understand each other completely – but comfort comes from knowing you’re not alone. Hearts can only hold so much by themselves.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ…”

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Love it! And I’m sorry to hear about your friend. I can’t even imagine.

    Loved the topic and how you addressed the question.
    One critique though, next time maybe break a few paragraphs a little smaller so it seems easier to read.

    It was lovely though and don’t take my advice if you don’t need it 🙂 just a suggestion.

    Awesome Lauren!

    1. Lauren says:

      Thank you for your kind comment Sarena. Loss of any kind is hard, especially when we’re not prepared for it, but I guess it also helps us to grow. I believe I’ll get to meet my friend Lily again in heaven someday – and I suppose it’s a wakeup call about how important it is for us to support our friends and make sure they have a personal relationship with God.

      It’s always fantastic to hear back about writing style, especially constructive criticism. Thank you for your honesty, I will definitely take that into consideration in my future posts! x

  2. kayed says:

    It is confusing as to how we can experience joy and heartache at the same time. I believe it is God’s grace that helps us muddle through. I believe sometimes God gives us the joy to help us with the heartache. it doesn’t have to make sense. It’s just our Heavenly Father comforting us. We need to be thankful that we are able to feel because so many people have shut down their emotions instead of growing with them.

    1. Lauren says:

      Kayed, you make such a good point! There’s always something to be grateful for, even if it’s our ability to recognise our emotions.

      I love what you said about joy. I also think there’s a distinction to be made between joy and happiness! I think it’s completely possible to be joyful at the same time as being distraught, because joy runs deeper than emotions. It’s a hope that we have, and that hope doesn’t dissipate when earthly things fall apart.

  3. Mary says:

    Lauren, your Valentine post touched me deeply. I don’t think there is anything more difficult for us humans to do than to deal with the loss of a loved one. Though your faith and mine assures us that our loved one is now happier than he or she could ever have been on this earth, we miss them terribly. When wonder about what might have been and we wonder if the pain will ever leave us. You expressed your feelings beautifully. In doing so, you freed your readers to grieve as only they can and to know that it is normal for them to do so. As for me, life never returns to “normal” after such a loss, but it does evolve into a new “normal” which we eventually become accustomed to. Thank you for re-posting and sharing this today,

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