the asking, the allowing, the emptying


Sometimes love etches us deep. Sometimes we think our hearts aren't elastic enough for all this stretching. Sometimes the ache is heavier than (we think) we can bear.

So we breathe. We take it one moment at a time. We hang on. We remember we don't walk alone.

A loved one with mental illness has been struggling and I, too, swirl with overwhelm. How do I carry this ache without going under? How do I develop and maintain boundaries for my own wellbeing (emotional, mental, physical, spiritual) while still meeting kindred where they are? How do I support without walking their journey for them? I am confused. Helpless. Out of answers.

Do you know this ache, too, friend? Even if you don't recognize this particular face of pain (mental illness), surely you understand and carry grief of your own, and know the peculiar vulnerability of witnessing the breakdown of one of your beloveds. 

You never stopped trying to keep them safe. // Revolutions always create collateral damage.
— art journal snippets

I've been processing this time of deep ache (mine, his, all we in the radius of this happening) the only way I know how . . . one breath at a time. In prayer (which often takes shape, for me, in the form of art journaling, as you see above). In windswept walks, seeking companionship of deer and duck and horse and buzzard and sky. In unofficial vigil.

I call on Love to hold him, me, you.

I remind myself this is already true
(even if it doesn't feel like it).

We are the loved of Love.
As we are. Here. Now.

Trying not to hope too hard for what I want . . . I’m still in the dark, lighting candles.
— The Weepies

Through it all, I (try to) lean into allowing. Surrendering. Opening my tight grasp. Answers may come in unexpected places, in surprising revelations, or not at all. The asking, the allowing, the emptying of myself is what counts: letting Grace patch my cracked heart.

Sprout: Discover is a comforting guide. A gentle reminder to breathe into the allowing. These life-affirming pages minister to me, too, as much as I hope they do in your own messy/complicated/beautiful life.

Discovery waits here, at the intersection of seeking and surrender. We must be willing to release our desperation for answers—a held-breath, tight-fisted, lip-biting clench of control. When we allow instead the (un)knowing, the unraveling, we are open to accept whatever comes. The revealing. The emerging. Our unique truth, hiding beneath the flutter of fear. We find wisdom. Forgiveness. Revelation. In ways and words and visions perhaps wholly unlike what we once imagined possible . . .
— Sprout: Discover (letter to the reader)

I am unraveling.

I am cracking open.

I am diving beneath the flutter of fear.

All along, beauty hides even in the hurt. Healing waits in the periphery. And for now . . . that is enough.

Oh, friend, thank you for traveling with me. You are so welcome in our Sprout community. Are you aching, too? Celebrating? Share your tears or cheers in the comments . . . and I will hold space for you, too.

blessings & gratitude,
Amanda
{Sprout creator, editor,
& chief gatherer of good}