How do we live after we have lost hope? How do we live with brokenness? What do we say to a broken world? What do we do with our broken hearts? The truth is that each day can bring us heartbreak. Any season of life can bring us failure. At times, the struggle is so intense that we do lose hope.
Khalil Gibran has written that “out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”
How true that is, that our suffering makes us stronger, that our scars make us resilient. Most of us move through life steeled against any suffering. We bravely put on our body armor to protect us against every assault. We refuse to allow our vulnerability to rise within us.
I have been strengthened by Brené Brown’s book, “Rising Strong.” She points us to wisdom that names hope is a function of struggle, and challenges us to not be afraid to lean into discomfort.
Why would we want to do that, you might ask? Who in their right mind really wants to invite adversity into their lives? Why would we want to be vulnerable? We need to be strong. We need to live into courage. We need to be impenetrable, tough and impervious to anything that might hurt us.
Here’s what Brené Brown says about that:
Hiding out, pretending and armoring up against vulnerability are killing us: killing our spirits, our hope, our potential, our creativity . . . Our love, our faith, our joy. We’re sick of being afraid and sick of hustling for our self-worth. We want to be brave, but deep inside of we know that being brave requires us to be vulnerable.
“No adversity, no hope,” she writes. “Fall. Get up. Try again.”
As people of faith, we can speak, through our own heartbreak, to a broken world. We can offer the message that if you feel that you have to give up, hope whispers, “try one more time.”
When we live in life’s fullness, with our whole hearts, we will always know heartbreak. We will push to try something new, and sometimes we will fail completely. We will experience disappointment. But without those heartbreak times, we will never know that we can get beyond them.
If we never fall, we will never know that we really can get up. If we never lose hope, we will never experience the joy of finding it again.
If we never lose hope, we will never know new hope, fresh and pointing us toward the skies.