Yesterday I did a brave thing. I went to hear a musician perform. Why brave? Music, or rather the power music has over my emotions, the way that for me it expresses feelings which are beyond words, is one of the things that I shared with the other.
For six months ( it was 6 months yesterday since we left each other) I have been avoiding music. When I’ve encountered it I have had to steel myself internally, particularly if it is a piece of music which I had listened to at any time in the previous 9 months. And I have hated that I have closed that part of me up again. I shut the door on the me that had come alive and I said, ‘no you can’t come out. You are too dangerous. You get me in trouble. You feel too much, too deeply. I’m sorry but I’m going to have to live without you‘. Occasionally I have allowed myself pleasure in music, but too often it has frightened me and I’ve retreated into silence again.
18 months ago I bought two tickets to hear a musician. The man I married chose not to come with me. I was hurt. I felt rejected.
9 months ago I shared that music with the other. He put my headphones on and listened as we sat outside watching the stars. I heard him sigh, and I knew the music had the same power over him. We didn’t need words. We knew.
Last night I went to hear that same musician play. I went with the man I am married to. He didn’t know all the connections that were flickering through my brain.
The music was fantastic. It engulfed and overwhelmed and transported. I felt a crushing weight of emotion. I found myself with tears rolling down my cheeks in the dark. I was desperate to be holding a hand while I listened. A hand that belonged to a person who would have also been feeling all the feelings and would have had tears, and would have known that words were insufficient for the experience. But he was not beside me.
‘God what is the point of all this emotion? You know I can’t share it. I’ve chosen to be where I am but that means not sharing these feelings . Why do I still need to feel it? This is cruel. I can’t do this.’
So late last night I asked my community ‘why am I feeling these things? What is the point of this emotion?’ The answers came back – ‘it is how you know that you know you are alive. It is so that you can lean in to God more in your need and your weakness and your vulnerability. It is in order that you recognize what pains you and moves you.’
This morning I had to take a flight. I started to try to listen to God on this emotions thing. I know that I don’t want the other in my life. For all kinds of reasons. But what I had known with him was the truly exceptional – the moment when you connect with another soul at your, and their, deepest level. Anyone who has experienced that will understand what I mean. It transcends everything. It makes you feel deeper, more known, more complete than anything else. Or it can.
And then, as I sat on the plane, I had a glimpse. A glimpse that those feelings are not to overwhelm or crush me, but to give me a tiny moment of connectedness with the depth and knowledge and fullness of my creator. When I feel deep emotions I am feeling something of God. Jesus was a deep feeler – he sweated blood. How much more deeply can you possibly feel? How overwhelmed, sorrowful, despairing must he have felt? It raised a question in my mind:
What if when I feel those emotions, instead of feeling crushed …..
I recognize Life?
And then I was given the visuals to go with the lesson I was learning. Breakfast was served on the flight. I was given a choice of a roll or cereal. I asked for a roll, but then I thought ‘actually I’m pretty hungry’ so I asked if I could have cereal too. ‘Sure’, came the response, ‘if you don’t ask you’ll never get.’
‘If you don’t ask you’ll never get. Is that how it is God?’
Were you just waiting for me to come to you saying, ‘show me what to do with these feelings’. Not to complain about them or ask you to take them away, but invite you to be in them with me. I did and you gave me a beautiful re-framing of them.
And then the guy who served me breakfast came back to offer drinks. I was thirsty – I knew he’d probably give me as many as I wanted. I’d asked before and he had delivered. So I asked for juice and tea. I was part way through both and my thirst was being quenched when he passed by and without asking me filled up my juice to the top again.
I understood what I was being shown. My emotions are of God. They are a blessing and a sign of life. Yes, they may leave me hungry and thirsty for other things, but God will satisfy those needs. And will keep satisfying. Filling and refilling.
And then God made me laugh. Another guy walked past and set a packet of love hearts on my tray. At breakfast. A packet of sweets. Love hearts.
‘See’, God said. ‘Do you get it yet?
I love you. I satisfy your needs. Just ask. I will give you more and keep refilling and I will go beyond the necessity to the lavish treats. Love hearts at breakfast time.’
And so I understand last night differently. It was a lavish treat. To feel those emotions was a lavish treat – a full to the brim, this is life, I am alive moment. I have a spark of my creator in me. I can draw on that emotion as power. It can open me to the depths of human feeling and the beauty of the richness of life.
And I did hold a hand while I listened. The hand of the man I married. The hand of the man I choose to love. The hand of the man who has chosen to love me.
And God is enough.
He gives me love hearts for breakfast.