Words of Hope: Heartbreak

Recently Shann and I participated in a contemplative prayer retreat. One of the beautiful and elegant questions asked was, “What breaks your heart?” One of the things that breaks my heart is a child without a loving, present father. This absence breaks my heart even more now that Dad has passed away, and I don’t have his physical voice encouraging me or the touch of his hand comforting me. I see how life-giving these qualities were. How much of our present-day suffering connects to the absence of a good father and a good mother? One of the men in my group had a mean father. Just thinking of this makes me cry. The word “mean” is synonymous with unpleasant, cruel, and beastly. When I imagine this man as a young boy around a mean father, I think of his fear, loneliness, and need to give up the cherished innocence of childhood with its carefree laughter and happy insouciance. Instead, he had to be wary, streetwise, sober, and alert. Is it any wonder he struggles to laugh and just have fun? The robbed laughter of a child breaks my heart. One of the presenters said as we went to pray for this person to “hold him in your heart” as we prayed. I sobbed, thinking of this glorious image. The body of Christ holds this man in our hearts, surrounding him with our love and prayers. I asked God as I prayed for him to give him places to laugh as a child, play like a child, and build friendships in a climate of peace and joy. I asked that what was lost to him would be returned a hundredfold.  

“I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten.” – Joel 2:25