I think most of us are walking around with hearts held together with duct tape. There is so much in life that can break our hearts, it’s a miracle we have any left at all. From global tragedy, what we hear on the news, to our personal heartaches, sometimes it seems the hits keep coming. Yet we keep going, we keep caring, we keep trusting, we fall in love again. It has to be duct tape.
A few months ago, feeling blocked and looking for inspiration, I pulled a tarot card as I often do: 3 of Swords. Ugh. What was there to write about? It’s a picture of three swords piercing a heart in the rain. I was looking for something helpful, something hopeful. I put the card away.
It wasn’t until my own period of time where everything seemed to be going wrong that I found my answer, the good in the 3 of Swords.
“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” ~Anne Lamott
It seems since I turned 49 my world started falling apart. This may be a bit over dramatic for what was actually happening, but this is how it felt. Changes were happening that I did not prefer, others’ decisions, not mine. I was being forced to let go of situations and people that had once made me happy. Situations I used to count on changed. It started to seem like I was the only one not moving on. Always, I’m journaling and working on my own shit. What is the message here? Where am I supposed to go next? These doors closed, now where are the open ones? I’m setting intentions to make changes and heal what needs to be healed. I’m determined to make my dreams come true, I’m seeing the half century mark come in closer and closer. My deepest, darkest shit comes up and smacks me at the worst possible moment. I withdraw. My beloved kitty, Arthur, is not himself and I find out he has a tumor, probably cancer. A few weeks later, he is gone. I feel like the universe keeps hitting me upside the head with a 2×4.
In our darkest hours is when we discover grace. And it is when I found my answer, I found grace in the 3 of Swords. The number 3. In numerology, 3 represents creation, growth, development, expansion, regeneration, fertilization. In several religions, three, trinity, triad, has important significance. (So what the fuck is it doing with a card that signals heartbreak, betrayal, disappointment? Hint: swords represent the mind, our thoughts and beliefs. It is our thoughts about a thing, not the thing itself, that cause us discomfort. Still, we’re human. It sucks.) I know where that grace came from. I pulled out another 3, the 3 of Cups: friendship, joy, merrymaking, happiness, good feelings.
My duct tape.
In our darkest hours, we discover grace. While I’ve taken responsibility for my own healing, most of the duct tape on my heart was not put there by me. Each piece of duct tape represents a phone call, an “I love you” text, a heart emoticon, a listening ear, a stranger’s kindness, those who cried with me, someone who made me laugh when I hadn’t smiled in two days, a dance, a hug… and more.
All the while I was feeling shitty, I was aware of these points of light in my life. You still have to feel the crap, if you don’t, it sticks around and bites you in the ass later. But when I had been through all the feels, I remembered. I focused on the love. I felt gratitude for all of it. All the feels, but these are the good ones. And the healing began.
“[grace] meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” ~Anne Lamott
The experience of grief and all the crap we go through changes us. All the good that is going on at the same time changes us. The experience of the relationships in our lives; those who give when we have nothing to give back; those love us even when we shut down, shut out, and crawl into our hole; those who welcome us back when we’re ready to feel happy again – all of this heals us beyond the current pain. Grace does not leave us where it found us. It leaves us in a better place.
Where I sit right now, and maybe you’re in the same place, the outer circumstances of my life haven’t changed. But I’ve been left better than I was before. Stronger, more resilient, with more faith and an open heart, and my own roll of duct tape.