I’ve got an achey breaky heart these days. . .
and it kinda just snuck up on me.
Rewind with me to earlier this month. My duff was happily glued to my couch while I was mindlessly caught up watching a tv show about a genetically modified super soldier, struggling with maintaining his humanity while wrestling with his manimal side.
It was about then when I felt it.
There was this ache in my chest.
Not unlike what I can imagine a heart attack might feel like, but it wasn’t that – it was deeper. More emotion and less artery.
At first I just brushed it off thinking I was just wishing I was a mutant super soldier who moonlighted as a vigilante (“Yeah, I probably belong in some sort of weird comic-con crowd”, she says as she bashfully looks at the ground with her hands locked behind her back).
But two hours later as I was drifting off to sleep, I felt whispers of the ache again somewhere in the deepest parts of my heart.
Well, so naturally the cure for this type of ache had to be to watch more tv.
So that’s what I did.
And for a minute, it worked. I had some relief, a little bit of distraction from my ache.
But then it came back with a vengeance. . .and my ache turned into something I couldn’t ignore anymore.
I realized I needed medical attention. . . of the God variety.
I haven’t felt an ache like that in a while, but I’ve found that it’s my heart’s way of crying out for God.
And while it’s not physically painful, it is uncomfortable and colors seem to fade and life sort of wilts a little.
Set me as a seal on your heart,
as a seal on your arm.
For love is as strong as death;
ardent love is as unrelenting as Sheol.
Love’s flames are fiery flames—
the fiercest of all.
Mighty waters cannot extinguish love;
rivers cannot sweep it away.
If a man were to give all his wealth for love,
it would be utterly scorned.
Song of Solomon 8:6-7 (HCSB)
I’ve tried to self-help the ache when it flares up. You know, keep it distracted with busyness or push through the pain and just do what’s right. Some people try to heal it with other people or sex or with food or with shopping or tv or books. I mean really, we try to treat it with all of the weirdness of the father in My Big Fat Greek Wedding who sprays Windex on everything as a cure all.
But love is not so easily dissuaded, because it is as strong as death.
So what’s the cure for the ache?
It’s watching mutant super soldiers wrestle with their inner humanity.
I’m not contradicting myself – promise.
I was watching my mutant super soldier and do you know what kept him human? Love and time (okay, fine and an occasional tranquilizer).
It was spending time with the love of his life and her reminding him of her love for him. (Granted her mother turned him into the beast that he is now and her father is with the FBI secretly hunting him, but really what’s that compared to the epic love they share?)
So, back to reality. . .
We need love.
We crave love.
Which really, isn’t that all that our aches are telling us?
We keep that beastly ache at bay by being with the one that loves us best and the one who aches in return.
We ache because love is as strong as death.
So, I’ve been listening to the whispers of the ache in my heart. And I’ve been clearing space in my schedule to just talk to God and to let him talk back. Learning that there is an ebb and flow to this ache. It’s God’s way of pulling us closer to himself.
And my own ache is lessening.
And this is where the battle is won and lost for our humanity and our hearts. It is here, in what God calls the secret place. It’s the place of spending time with him. Not in that sterile, got to read 20 minutes of my Bible, pray for everyone on my list, maybe fast something, sort of way. It’s more fluid, more intimate, more like falling in love. It’s the place of, my heart is yours. And from that place, desire is born to want, yeah, actually want, to read our Bibles and pray.
But without the ache first, nothing can follow.
Nothing should follow. Because anything that would, wouldn’t be love.
As for the genetically modified super soldier, I’ve got to go – his DNA is changing again and the unsanctioned FBI agent (the girlfriend’s father) has put out a hit on him and it looks like it’s gonna get really good. . .