Not long ago I discovered the writing of a woman that is truly gifted. She writes beautifully and lyrically and I could sit and read her words all day. She recently released her first book Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons. As I was reading her book, I discovered this line on page 170 “Our ambition is simply to care for this place and for the people who step through its door. That is what love looks like.” OH. MY. STARS! I read this in the midst of my series! I knew I had to ask her if she were willing to write a guest post and and she graciously agreed. You should know that I approached her with this request just a couple of weeks (if that) after she returned home from Hawaii following the tragic death of her brother-in-law. While I couldn’t believe she said yes, I REALLY could not believe I was asking! It was truly a “God thing.”
My What LOVE looks like series was supposed to end in February, but my mother went into the hospital and was seriously ill and I got side-tracked. Those of you that knew…thank you for your prayers. Those of you that did not know…thank you for your patience with me. My mom died on March 1 and as I read the post that this beautiful woman sent me, I am reminded that LOVE really does look like grief.
Read the words of Christie Purifoy and learn why LOVE looks like grief….
When I was a little girl, I had a best friend. I know we were best friends because we wore the words on silver chains around our necks. Her half of the necklace said, “Be / Frie” and mine said, “st / nds.”
When we sat close together at recess and held our puzzle pieces up in front of our eyes, we could see the truth neither one of us yet understood. We saw that love looks like a broken heart.
Before we were out of our teens, my childhood friend died in a car accident.
I still have one half of a silver heart in my jewelry box.
While I was grieving with family in Hawaii, my nine-year-old niece kept showing me her brand-new silver locket. The first time she snapped it open to reveal the picture of her Daddy, I remembered that I also have a locket.
Somewhere in the same jewelry box with my broken heart, is a soft gold circle with two very old-fashioned photographs inside. The woman on the left is wearing an elaborate hat. The man on the right is dark and handsome. On the cover, in scrolling calligraphy, are my grandmother’s initials.
Later I asked my mother, “How old was your mom when her father died?”
“She was nine,” she said with surprise and recognition.
“Do you think her locket, the locket she gave me when I was about that age, was given to her when her Dad died?”
We only looked at one another. It seemed so obvious, I couldn’t believe we’d never considered it before.
There is one other necklace in the pink fabric box on my dresser. It is heavy with glass birds and flowers and bunches of grapes in rainbow colors. It was first given to my Aunt Connie when she was eight years old. When I turned eight, Connie, whom we called Sissie, gave it to me.
Quite a few of the little birds are broken. Too many of the tiny, glass grapes have fallen off and been lost.
When I was fifteen, my Sissie died in a car accident. I wore the necklace to her funeral.
What does love look like? What I saw as a girl remains true. Love looks like a broken heart. The more we love, the more we have to lose, and the more we will lose.
This equation no longer strikes fear in my (broken) heart. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). I have learned firsthand the truth of those words, but I no longer believe they are relevant only in our seasons of personal sorrow.
Instead, I see how following “a man of sorrows” is like wearing a permanently broken heart around my neck. It is a life of embracing, not only my own grief, but all the grief of a world in the process of being made new.
If my heart is always already broken, then it is a natural thing to mourn with those who mourn and to listen to those crying out for justice. The grief of others, whether they are friends or neighbors or voices on the radio news, no longer seems to threaten some easier, happier state of being.
A broken heart is not like a broken vessel. It holds more rather than less. There is more sorrow. There are more tears. But there is also more comfort. More joy. And, best of all, more love.
Always, there is more love.
Have you experienced grief the lead to more love? Christie and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Christie Purifoy earned a PhD in English Literature at the University of Chicago before trading the classroom for a farmhouse, a garden, and a blog.
In lyrical, contemplative prose, Christie’s just-released book, Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons, unveils the trials and triumphs of her family’s first year in an old Pennsylvania farmhouse. Christie invites you into the heartache and joy of small beginnings and the wonder of a God who would make his home with us.