10 January 2011

I cannot find what I'm looking for.

Sometimes, without realizing it is what I am doing, I find myself looking for something -- anything -- a quote, a picture, a poem, a melody, a scent, a divine revelation, some secret stash of special knowledge -- that will spirit away my sadness, that will make me feel like I haven't had a limb cut off. But there is no such thing, and I know this. Flesh that has been cut and bled may bind itself together (and we presume to call it "healed"), but the scar that forms can't help but remind the bearer of her brokenness, that once upon a time, her flesh was torn. The skin that once was smooth now bears a fleshy ridge that survives as a token of the trauma and how she survived it. The flesh may bind and the wound no longer bleed, but she can never be unscarred.

So it is with the brokenhearted. Their wounds may not always visibly bleed or fester, and perhaps with tears and talking it out and time, there will come a day when the thing that hurts like a phantom limb will not hurt quite as much anymore. They may even laugh and smile in a way that isn't forced. But the heart can never be unbroken. And could you peer inside those chests, you would find the tissues of those hearts are not smooth, but have those ridged and jagged places that once upon a time, were broken and bleeding but have mended, continuing the work of lub-dubbing blood through the body only because scars formed over the places where they were torn apart.

Life must go on, someone says.

I don't know if it must, but it certainly does. That's what C. S. Lewis said in Shadowlands just after his wife Joy died. And so he does, after some time and tears and talking it out. But it wasn't because his loss was undone. I imagine he had broken places that mended slowly, and that ached with little to no inducement until the day he died.

The thing I am looking for -- the thing that will unbreak a broken heart -- does not exist. So why do I keep looking? I already know: I am not going to find the one I miss.