I went to a funeral last Sunday for a young boy who was supposed to graduate high school in just a few weeks.
He died in a motorcycle accident. He was a close family friend. Our hearts are broken for his parents who are grieving the loss of their only child.
Sitting there in that service my heart was overflowing with empathy. This is an emotion I’ve known for years I’ve needed to grow in. But having gone through intense tragedy myself, I’ve had these strong protector parts that were really good at numbing me from feeling certain things. They’ve worked hard for me. But as I’ve experienced much healing over the years, this numbing part of me is a part I want to have redeemed as well.
I don’t want to go through life feeling numb. I want to be fully alive to feel every emotion. This too is part of grieving in a healthy way. It’s been almost 15 years for us. Yet grief still remains intentional. I still live with a focus to grieve in a healthy way. You never get over it, you learn to live through it.
I felt my heart, ironically in the midst of such a painful service, experiencing a surprising healing. Being able to cry for the them and being able to feel empathy for them with overflowing compassion in a way that enters the grief with them was a signal to me that a part of me too is coming alive. A part of me that died along with AJ 15 years ago is being resurrected. So while the tears stung, the tears were like a healing balm.
I want to be alive and fully awake to everything around me. Experiencing a tragic death definitely drives home the point of how short our time is here on this emerald planet. I don’t want to sleep walk through life. I don’t want to be numb. Yet sometimes we can’t force our hearts to do something they’re not ready to do.
My friend Kimberly Miller (I recently shared music at her retreat in LA) has just released a fantastic book called Boundaries For Your Soul. It talks about all the different parts inside of us and how they work to make us who we are. There are protector parts and exile parts. The exiles are often the parts of us that have been wounded and carry pain. The protectors are often working in overtime to shield the exiled parts and to keep us from feeling the pain the exiles carry. Does that resonate with you? This concept has been so illuminating for me.
I don’t know why I feel like I always need to be so strong. I don’t know who I’m trying to be strong for or what, in my feeble strength, I’m trying to hide from. Mostly, I think it’s another form of deception that keeps me numb and in turn not fully living life. It’s like a wall - this part - and its role it plays in my heart. It’s done a good job, and I’m thankful for its hard work over the years. But I think it can step aside now. And at this funeral it finally did, which felt liberating.
I wrote a song a couple months ago about coming alive. I think it was more of a wishing song then a reality song when I wrote it. But I also feel myself beginning to live into this in a fresh way. There is zero judgment here from me to you. However, I do want to ask you this: are there parts of you that you’ve allowed to go numb? Are there parts of you that have fallen asleep? In their slumber they might protect you from a whole lot, but are they hindering you from fully living too? Is it time to ask them to step aside so you can live more fully into the riches of life that’s there waiting for you to experience?
We only get one chance here. In the end do you want it to be said of you, ‘she lived a safe life’? Or would you rather it be said, ‘she lived a good, vibrant, robust life’?
Every day we get a fresh chance to make this choice.
What will you choose today?