Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My All: Lessons on Anger, Brokenness, and Letting Go

She writes today about reaching out and embracing hurt, leaning into suffering, and not going in alone. The first thing I think is, “well, that would be me.” Going it alone.

I don’t know how to ask for help. I am buried.

This week has already been a crawl over shattered, jagged glass and upended tacks as I wrestle once again with the issue of school for my child. A strong-willed, “aggressive researcher” who does not fit easily into any classroom mold; who requires more explanation than “because this is the way we do things,” for things to make sense for her; and who is now feeling lost, bereft, and battered amidst the expanding ripples and repercussions of an overstuffed classroom, varrying teaching styles, some of her own poor choices, and the way they are responded to in the classroom.

And I am angry. I am buried.

God help me, I am stone-cold, teeth-grinding, blood-boiling, vibrating with fury, forcing myself into lethal silence in my anger at this situation that has been going on for too long. Despite our best efforts. Despite our conversations. Despite our conferences. Despite our working to be on the same page. It goes on. I. am. so. angry.

And I am tired. I am buried.

Tired of feeling like every conversation with this bastion of education is a fight. Tired of feeling like every time I walk through those front doors I must have every bit of armor tightened in place to deflect the overwhelming negativity that permeates the atmosphere. Tired of feeling like any loving work we do at home to shore up the self-esteem and value that my young child feels about herself gets chipped away and shredded on a daily basis at the place where nurturing learning is supposed to take place.

I feel like I’m doing this alone. Pause a moment. My incredible husband is a strong partner in the mix and is right there with me. So maybe alone is not exactly the right term. But I feel alone in my heart and my head as I’m wrestling through these questions. Alone in that I feel like people around me are tired of hearing about this; wondering why this hasn’t been resolved yet; wondering what the heck is wrong with my child, me, this family. Maybe not. But I’m not talking. I’m not asking. So it’s hard to tell. I am buried.

This inability of mine to reach out. To ask. To be vulnerable. To admit a weakness.

It is so much easier to be there for someone else. To be the strong one. To be the one that someone else leans on. To be the broken one – that’s hard.

I even struggle to be broken in the hands of the One who was broken for me. In the presence of my Jesus who holds me softly and with upmost grace. Even then. I turn my back. Push away hugs. Flee from kind words. Swallow tears. Dig up a brave face. Feign a laugh and a smile. Cling to my hidden anger. Anything to not let anyone else in. And to what end?

There is only torment here. There is no healing. Despite my utter and upmost longing for this very thing. I struggle to let go. What have I said before? I cannot let go.

It doesn’t end here.

It can’t.

I have to remember what she writes: Burden is only a weight when born alone. When the burden is born together, by a Body, the burden becomes bond – soul strenghthener.*

That’s what I’m looking for. Soul strengthening. So I will reach out. Tentatively. Painfully. Full of contradiction and complication. Come out of the ground. Leave behind being buried. Ask for help. Reach for life.

This is the gift of resurrection. The joy and peace that exists in an amazing, dizzying parallel and paradox with my anger and frustration. I know that my Redeemer lives. And that if I simply reach out and embrace His grace and peace, it will be there. It’s the stepping off – the letting go that I have trouble with. Every time. Yet every time I do, there stands the reassuring arms to catch me. So maybe I just need to practice stepping out more. Stepping off. Letting go. Repeatedly throwing myself off the cliffs of these daily struggles and battles that feel impassable and impossible. Like schools. And teachers. And (in the past) jobs. Bosses (although my boss now is a dream). Parenting choices. Crazy friendships. Marriage frustrations. Health issues. And all the other jumble of that thing called living.

It’s crazy. This living thing. This complete giving of oneself to the act of living completely. Living in joy, in eucharisteo – despite circumstances. Living in resurrection, in celebration – despite surroundings. But Love gave. Love came down and gave so much. What else can I do?

Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.

All of me. Even the hurt, the anger, the frustration. All of that along with the joy and the laughter. Tears, smiles, rage, ecstasy. It shimmers together in a beautiful tangle of becoming. In Him. My all.

*Ann Voskamp, April 10, 2013 post



  1. Oh friend, your words are rich and raw and true. I'm sorry for the pain, and yes, being broken is the hardest of all. I'm reaching out my hand to you even now through this screen, praying you'll grab it and walk together. Mending what is broken can only begin with the surrender...I'm praying that for you. With much love,

  2. Your lonely words reminded me of a verse I read yesterday- Psalm 102:7- I lie awake;
    I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop.
    This blog is your housetop and your song reaches the Almighty and the all of us. Thank you for your painful melody. Praying for you and thanking God for your eucharisteo.

  3. This is beautiful. I really felt your emotion coming through. I don't know how old your child is but I can imagine how heartbreaking that is to go through. I have a three-year-old who is already showing signs of being different from the pack, unwilling/unable to do the things that the "normal" kids do and I worry about what school will look like for him if we choose not to homeschool. So, I'm definitely not there yet by any means and I can't fully understand. I hope and am praying right now in this moment that this situation with your child's education can be resolved and a love of learning cultivated within your child's heart.

  4. "Tears, smiles, rage, ecstasy. It shimmers together in a beautiful tangle of becoming." I track with this entire piece and then this line just so perfectly expresses the invitation of Jesus in the midst of all the not-figured-out. A beautiful tangle of becoming. IN HIM. YES. This is beautiful, friend. Raw. And beautiful.


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