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Recently because of some life circumstances, I had to completely clear out our front living room.
In a box, I came across a photo frame that once hung in my office at the last place I worked a day job more than a decade ago. Might as well be a lifetime ago.
The wooden frame had various sayings about friendship carved into it and about nine slots for photos. For a long time, I left the photos in it—photos of so many friends who were dear in my life. A few of those friends I still count close. One doesn’t speak to me anymore. And the rest—well, as the years rolled by, we drifted out of each other’s lives.
At some point I removed all the photos and threw them in a box, and the frame sat photoless for about two years. I used to love that frame so much. Loved it. And I still can in my heart and mind see where it hung in my office.
But today I boxed it up. Gathered it and other items and dropped them at the Goodwill. I can’t envision any place I would have ever hung the frame again, and in an achey sort of way, it just felt sad to keep it. The only thing I could picture is me coming across it years from now and feeling the same sort of emptiness.
It’s not the frame, per se. It’s the way days move along and how we are always leaving something behind. Always trying to find our bearings.
I received a beautiful email today from a stranger sharing so authentically about hard things in her life. Painful and regretful things. And I wanted to reach right through the computer screen and hug her and reassure her and tell her we are all broken. We are all broken in some way. And all redeemable, too. I wish I could reach my hand to her face and dry her tears and cry a few of my own. And then take her out for ice cream. Or some wine. Or a long walk at this small nature reserve that sits right in the middle of Omaha. I feel most at peace there.
I’d tell her about my photo frame that soon will be sitting in a Goodwill store in Omaha, waiting for someone to fill it with images. I’d tell her why I felt too sad—way too sad—to keep it. And I’d remind her in a completely reassuring way that we are all broken.
My friend Debi shared the below quote on Facebook the other day, and I’m claiming it as my anthem as of late.
Now hear my heart on this. Certainly, if you are in an abusive or destructive situation in life, you should not simply suck it up and endure. I am not using the quote in that context at all.
What I love about the quote is it gives credence to the raw experience of life not always panning out how we thought it would. And probably there are no sadder situations than when the disappointing circumstances are nothing of our own doing. Heartache and difficulty that befall us and leave us baffled and feeling alone. And even if the circumstances are of our own doing, the emptiness is eerily the same. Pain is pain.
As I’ve struggled lately, I told a friend that I felt like God was a gentle grandpa, lovingly patting me on the shoulder and saying “there, there dear” over and over again, yet not having any resources to even slightly change my circumstances for the better. We’d sit on a park bench. Eating popcorn or something. And He’d hold my hand. And lovingly say “there, there dear.” And then I’d have to get up at some point and walk back into my life.
I don’t know who needs this post today.
Maybe your marriage feels irretrievably derailed. Maybe your children are difficult or wayward or still on the payroll with you long after they should be. Maybe you’re dealing with sickness or injuries or leaky ceilings that you can’t afford to fix. Maybe your boss is a jerk or the work is unbelievably unmanageable. Or you’re feeling crushed by grief that waits for you each morning and wraps itself around you each night.
I don’t know who needs this post today.
I hope, like me, you are reminded that God does love you. I tell you what, I’m grateful I have Him right now. I’m trusting Him immensely, because when I scan the horizon for other options, I stare into nothing. Absolutely nothing.
And I’m humbly grateful for such beautiful friends, some whose pictures once hung in that frame so many years ago. The frame that now sits at Goodwill. And I’m grateful for new friends, too. People who are looking into my eyes and saying, “I got you girl. I got you. It’s going to be okay.”
And it is.
And I have a 5 video series available on building better sex in your marriage. Great way to invest in your marriage! You can find out all about it at this link: Better Sex in Your Christian Marriage.
Copyright 2020, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.