Let's just jump right in, shall we?
What if heartbreak is part of the calling?
And now let's walk it back a bit.
What if to be gutted is the most beautiful part of our story?
We will only know this in hindsight, of course.
At the time of this writing, yesterday was Monday. On Monday nights I attend a class through my church, and I always call my mom on the way to this class. Yesterday at around 5:40 pm she was getting her nails done while she talked to me on the phone. I'm about to go through some pretty big shifts and life changes, and she and I were chatting through them when she asked, "Sara, are you excited? Are you glad you're doing this?"
My response: a resounding Oh, Mama -- YES.
I gushed about how overjoyed I am to go spend a few weeks at home with my parents and our gigantic dog (I'm not a huge person, but this dog is as big as I am), as I will do in about three weeks' time. I am so excited for the next step after that (two words, friends: Grad. School). Change involves some upheaval, and sometimes it's scary, and it's often sad, but that does not alter the excitement I am experiencing at the upcoming Adventure with a capital A.
"Good," Mom said. "Because you're doing what you've always wanted to do." She went on to say that she thought that the period of despair that I've gone through this year (read about it here and here) was what showed me that I'm called by God to be a musician. "This is what you're meant to do."
Sidebar: Let me take a moment to say that to hear that from your mother, your bestest friend in the world who knows you better than anyone, is sweeter than honey. Than candy canes.
I said that I felt that my commitment to regular singing was a tool that Jesus had used to lift me out of sadness, but that things had really begun to look up when I decided to go to grad school. "Oh, Sara," Mom declared with authority in her voice, "I know that was it." Again, sweeter than the strawberry candies I used to have at my nana's house.
And that brings me to the point I'm trying to make.
About a month ago my parents visited Lubbock to see a Tech football game. They hadn't seen me for a few weeks, since our vacation, when my sadness was at an all-time depth. Mom looked at me across the console in my little white car and said softly, "You seem better." At the time I wasn't ready to talk about why, but I knew why: I was singing.
Since then I've waxed eloquent to my mother on our frequent phone conversations (again, she's my bestest friend) about how I can feel myself being healed by singing. How it releases tension. How it has been a tool that God uses to reach into the depth of my sadness and pull me out of the pit as mud sucked at my torso and ankles. How every time I draw up close to it, it's like snuggling into a thick blanket: not pnly physycialy comforting, but emotionally as well.
And now I will say what I have said many times before and will say many times again:
It is at the opera that I am healed.
In my darkest moments, the moments when I wasn't sure that I had a handle on reality, when I felt that all my joy was gone -- it's been music, guys. It's been the act of singing, of performing, of flexing the muscle, of living into my vocation (as in vox and voce) as a singer-actress.
And as I write that, it washes over me like a wave exactly how much I am called to this.
Maybe not exactly -- but I understand the truth of it at a new level, in a new magnitude.
But here's the deal: my heart had to be broken for me to learn that.
I had to go through a relationship and a breakup and a Dark Night of the Soul, and God had to rescue me, for me to see what I can see now:
I am a musician in my soul.
When God breathed the breath of life into my lungs, He was singing as He did it (after all, singing is exhaling).
When God hard-wired my DNA and bent it into a double helix and spun it into my cells, He sewed a line of gold and silver high notes across it. Stitched it in close, so that i couldn't get away even if I tried. And believe me. I have tried.
God had to allow my heart to break so that I would know it came from Him and not from me.
Because when I put it down, I did so because I felt He had asked me to. And when I picked it up again, I did so because He yelled (lovingly) into my heart that He had made me for it.
I am selfish, and it is easy for me to think that the voice, the love, the calling comes from me. But it doesn't. I'm the conduit for it, the little funnel through which it is poured straight from God into the world.
And my heart had to be broken for me to know that it doesn't come from me. That He has given it to me, and I can never run out of music.
That's comforting for an artist: to know that your art will not run out. And by the way, if you're an accountant, your ability to account (I obviously know all the technical terms) will also not run out.
God is the font.
But I had to go through heartbreak in order to see this just a little.
I still see through a glass darkly. My picture is not clear. I see only bits and pieces, and blurrily so.
(I'm making blurrily a word. It's got a delightfully hobbit-esque feel, like rain and fields and scarves.)
And in some ways my heart is still broken. Am I still sad over the end of that relationship? I am. Sometimes it feels like my heart will break all over again, though those times are growing fewer, with more gaps between them.
But again: that relationship had to end for me to realize that I had been kidding myself: that I am not meant to stay here, but to follow the calling of God.
Leave your family and your father's house and go to the place that I will show you.
So I ask you again:
What if heartbreak is part of the calling?
What if it is the catalyst? What if one day we look up and see that while we were mourning, God picked us up and carried us to a new spot on the path, and everything is different now? What if heartbreak spurs us onto what we are meant to do? What if mourning does something to our spirit that could not happen otherwise?
What if heartbreak is actually healing, but we just don't know it?