When I was a young girl my first crush was on John Smith. Our dads worked together and on Sundays, after church, we would go to the lumber mill and ride on the forklifts. We were 10.
I still have the straw-stuffed, red and white bear he won at the fair for me all those years ago. Never had the heart to throw it away.
One day in ninth grade, John Smith got a crush on another girl, and he was gone. It was my first time to feel a crack in an innocent heart.
Hearts are broken every minute of every day somewhere. We are never prepared, we are never going to fully understand why, and we will never heal the pain by ourselves.
We don’t like to talk about our emotions too much, but the truth is love leaving can sometimes plant the seed for depression, suicide, physical ailments and, yes, even murder. A broken heart can lead to a broken person. However, whether love left because of death or divorce, there is help to heal.
We call our friends, counselors and family to come to our aide. Without their support and understanding it would be even worse. However, they are not there in the quiet moments when the mind collapses, and sleep is impossible.
On a hot summer day in August of 1965 my grandmother was putting the finishing touches on lunch. Cornbread, beans, buttermilk and tomatoes from the garden spread over the table. As usual, she sent Snowball, their dog, to get my grandfather at his mill across the pond when lunch was ready.
Snowball would run to the mill and then stroll leisurely down the path home with her master by her side.
Laughing, as he came through the door, granddaddy went to wash his hands in the bath right off the kitchen. He never returned.
A fatal heart attack killed him so swiftly that my grandmother never even heard a whimper.
Her sweet love suddenly left that day and left my grandmother devastated.
She would live another 24 years always loving her husband, and after a while her laughter would return and bless our lives forever. Pain did not define her, because at some point, she had handed the pain to God.
Another woman I know went on a trip one day with some girlfriends. She had been married for 30 years. When she returned from her trip, her husband had vanished. Divorce would follow, and bitterness, anger and resentment set in. But, it didn’t stay.
After a few months she started helping others in need, and forgave the man who left her. Her anger and resentment didn’t define her — instead, at some point, she had handed her bitterness to God.
These two women still cried. They still had to work hard to put one foot in front of the other, but if you were to ask them today, in the end, what eased their burden, they would simply reply, “God.”
Many, many years ago I was suffering from the intense pain of a broken heart. I tried and tried to mend it, but there was nothing I could do to cure this heartache. Love was gone.
On a particular dark and lonely night, I laid in my bed to sleep but tossed and turned. With only a street light illuminating my room, I saw the old straw-stuffed bear on a shelf. The soft light landed on his big, brown eyes.
I got up, pulled him off the shelf and fell to my knees where I prayed so hard and cried so much that my bear’s fur was left damp. When I opened my eyes and looked up, the street light cast a shadow through the window panes creating a perfect cross on my wall.
In my darkest hour, I had found the light of God.
It was the love of God that always got me through the many heartaches that would come in my life. To this day, I am thankful for the young man whose love left.
I know a great cardiologist. If Dr. Sandler told me tomorrow I would have to take 25 pills a day to cure a physical heart issue, I would. I trust him to care for me, to use his expertise to cure me. He and I would do everything we could to get the most living out of my life.
Dr. Sandler, however, as good as he is, cannot repair the broken heart. He cannot see the anger, resentment, pain or loneliness that was created by a love that has left.
If you are experiencing a broken heart that is slow to heal or resentment has consumed you, try grabbing a stuffed bear, hold on to him tight, fall on your knees and let the Great Healer start to mend you. Trust Him just like you do your own doctor.
His great prescription is, “Come to Me, all you weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Soon a light will shine through your soul, and the good news is His love will never leave.
Lynn Walker Gendusa is a former LaGrange resident who currently resides in Roswell.