di·u·ret·ic /dī’ə-rĕt’ĭk/ adj. : tending to increase urine flow—diuretic n.
[NOTE: Okay, seriously, dictionary gods?!?!?! Last week, “reins” and now “diuretic?” These last two words were really the first ones that I have felt pretty stumped by. I mean, what does one really care to write about “urine flow.” I can answer for myself, nothing, nothing at all. But rules are rules. This was the word I landed on this week. I could try to fool y’all and say I landed on the word just below it, which was “diurnal”: daily; of, relating to, occurring, or active in the daytime. That would be pretty easy to write from. But that wouldn’t be honest. But no matter the word, I will not subject you to talk about my own bathroom habits. So please don’t be concerned about that.]
This is maybe going to sound silly or too big of an analogy to make here, and you have every right to think that and to stop reading. But I think sometimes about bodily functions, our response to these functions and what they have to say about the ways in which we move through life. For example, I think about the sensation of having to go to the bathroom when the situation becomes urgent. It requires your entire focus. You can’t imagine a more uncomfortable feeling. You are going to explode. You are literally going to die.
And then the moment you go, you feel that instantaneous relief. It is hard to conjure or even imagine the feeling of hopelessness and anxiety that existed a mere thirty seconds before.
I feel that way about life sometimes. This is especially true because right now I am in the midst of one of those “gotta go” moments. I can’t even begin to explain the amount of brokenness I have experienced and witnessed in the last few months (and even more so in the last few weeks)—broken relationships, broken engines, broken windows, broken words, broken trust. Everywhere, everything is broken and I’m not sure what to do. It feels silly and naïve to just pick up the pieces: almost like, what is the point when something else is bound to break again? Why not just live in the battered shell? Why not just abide in the wreckage?
And it is hard for me, in the midst of these experiences, to have any comfort in the idea that relief will come. When? For how long before something else happens? For how long must I endure this feeling of powerlessness or the deep desirous need for relief whose arrival I cannot predict? I don’t know. And I don’t have a ribbon with which to tie up this post or answer these questions. These feelings are very real and palpable to me.
I am someone who believes in redemption and repair, and yet in this very moment, all of this feels so far away from reality. The only thing that gets me through moments like are the little things that are not broken. The phone call of a friend to check in. The offer of a safe place to stay or a car to drive. A compassionate embrace.
And these little gestures, these moments of connectivity do not do away with the brokenness. The pieces are too small to fill the cracks. But they do help clot the bleeding. They do hold back the dam from bursting further. They stop the cool air from rushing in.
Someone once told me that a religious leader was talking about the beauty of a broken heart. It had to be broken open, he said, so that more love could pour in, could pour out. I have definitely experienced moments of brokenness in my life that led to more fullness and beauty than I could have ever imagined. But that didn’t make the breaking nor the putting back together any easier. That didn’t make me know that relief would someday come. Maybe there is something about the intensity of these moments, their never-ending quality and the feeling that we might not make it through them, that makes us truly love the act of letting go.