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Paper and Flame

There’s this Ray LaMontagne song that is hopelessly romantic. Not romantic in the the Hollywood-love-and-lust way. More so romantic in the I see your heart and I accept you for who you are way. And every time I listen I am immediately transported into the presence of Jesus. And no matter where I am I’m not alone and my heart is open and OK with the vulnerability.

Tell me what you’re feeling,

   I can take the pain. 

Tell me what your heart wants,

   Such a simple thing. 

My heart is like paper.

   Yours is like the flame.

And as his voice floats scratchy whispers over liquid velvet of the electric guitar I wonder if romance- the romance we were made for-really can be that easy.

It’s spring here. And yet so much of my soul still feels like winter. It’s been two years now since the Terrible Awful happened. Since we buried not one but three people we loved so dearly, along with hopes and dreams and futures that can never be. Two years and it still aches as though it was yesterday. Two years and I still hurt with the anger of what was taken. Two years and I still wonder if that romance- that romance I was made for- really can be that easy.

Grief and trauma, heart aches and heart breaks, disappointments and distractions: They break down foundations faster than any other thing. And we must be intentional with our rehabilitation or else we will stay broken and angry and cut off. And so maybe-just maybe- that’s why Ray’s song tugs at such deep heart strings.

Tell me what your heart wants.

   Such an easy thing.

My heart is like paper,

   yours is like the flame.  

I know I’m still angry. I know I’m still sad. I know there are days I’m in denial and days I find joy and hope and courage and strength. And I know that the rehabilitation, the rebuilding of this heart is two steps forward and one step back and three steps this way and four steps that. It is cyclical and topsy turvy and every which way but what I expect. And it is hard. And it takes intentionality and commitment and strength and sweat. But also? Also I think it takes romance. Not the Hollywood-love-and-lust kind. But the I see you and I accept you where you are kind. The kind of romance I was made for. The kind of romance that died on a tree for me and comes back for me and whispers the hard and the simple with one line:

Tell me what you’re feeling.

    I can take the pain. 

And suddenly I am transported into the presence of Jesus. The romance I was created for. And no matter where I am I’m not alone and my heart is open and OK with the vulnerability. And no matter what I’m feeling I cannot deny His beauty, and His kindness, and His power, and His ferocity. But most of all, I cannot deny His love. And suddenly my heart is like paper, and His is like the flame.

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