Taking my Heart Back

I can remember it so clearly. It was Valentine’s Day, 2015, and little did I know, this would be the beginning of about a two-week period when my world dramatically shifted. I learned so much in those last two weeks of February, it was as if a high-magnitude earthquake had struck Wisconsin. Even to this day, I am not the same girl I was on February 13, 2015.
No, this single girl did not find love on Valentine’s Day, but I did find the opportunity to redirect my steps in order that I might find greater trust in my Creator. And it all started with a heart-shaped piece of paper. I had been reluctant to go to a ladies’ tea on that Valentine’s morning, but I attended anyway. I know now that God was leading me into new territory so that my heart would have a chance to heal in order that I might stop fighting.
What was I fighting against? Well, it seemed like it was a never-ending struggle. I thought that since I had been born with my disability, I would have ample time to come to a means of acceptance. Obviously, there was nothing I could do to change my reality; I was visually impaired and no medical procedure could remedy that reality. It wasn’t like I woke up each morning with a dreaded realization: “Oh, no; please, not another day of blindness! I don’t want to do this anymore.” No, I am fully aware of my long-term situation and I have accepted it. What choice do I have?
As I posted on my blog mere days after my startling Valentine’s epiphany: “For years, I have confidently expressed that I am okay with the fact that I have a disability, but I have never been able to set aside the fact that I am needy out of necessity. There are certain things I cannot do, and that means I have to ask for help. But I hate bothering people and asking for favors, and I always wonder whether the response from my friends and family is genuine. Are these dear people simply helping me because they feel obligated, or do they help because they truly don’t mind?”
The above statements were some of the core reasons why I didn’t want to go to the women’s tea initially. In order to attend I would have to ask for a ride, and I didn’t want to bother anyone. I figured it would be easier to remain at home and prepare for a girls’ night I would be hosting at my house that evening. I was liberated at the thought of my friends being willing to come to me later that day instead of me needing to find a way to get to them.
If you want to read more of my experiences that weekend, feel free to read my post: “Let it Go.” But to make a long story shorter, I went to that women’s tea and heard from a speaker who altered my perspective on letting go of difficult situations and defining realities. After her message, the speaker passed out paper hearts and instructed us to write down the one issue that was causing the greatest discontent in our lives. I had no trouble filling that piece of paper with my insecurities relating to needing people. It was in sending that paper away in the mail in a pre-addressed envelope, knowing that the one who received it would pray over it and shred it, that I began to form a new level of acceptance.
Remember how I said that I have had no problem accepting my disability? Well, apparently I still had some learning and growing to do. For just months after sending that heart-shaped paper away, I received a crushing review. It’s so easy to gloss over the really good comments on evaluations and become completely consumed with the one negative remark. And that’s exactly what happened to me that day. I read something that tore into my heart so completely that I felt the pain within. It came from a community member that I thought truly supported me; an individual in the disability community who should have understood me basically said that I wasn’t a solid role-model to people with disabilities because I hadn’t fully accepted my disability. I was crushed.
Here I thought I had reached that place, even back in February, but it took some time to realize that I had been blinded by the cutting remark. In a burst of clarity, I realized that it wasn’t acceptance I was lacking; it was adaptability. Perhaps my critic had caught a glimpse of my reluctance to adapt to the challenges around me. Transportation is a difficult factor in my life, so instead of fighting to improve that reality, I often shy away and just let things happen as they do. I don’t like to ask favors because I don’t want to be a bother, so instead of pressing forward to get what I need, I often pretend I am okay and that I am content with what I have.
Even though I thought I had relinquished those burdens when I let my paper heart go, apparently I had not. My reluctance to adapt to my ever-present challenges was obvious to others (or at least my negative critic), and it was obvious to me. I recall writing in my “Let it Go” post that I was sure I would be likely to take my heart back some time in the future… that instead of giving my cares completely to God, I would find a way to pick up my insecurities and carry them again. And here we are about six months later, still struggling to let go. Call it lack of acceptance or lack of adaptability, but either way, it’s something I’m still working to relinquish. So instead of felling anger toward my negative critic, I would like to thank him or her. Thank you for pointing out that I still have work to do. I am not proud of the fact that I have stopped to pick that burden up again, but maybe this time with prayer and determination, I can set this to rest, once and for all. I’m taking my heart back, but hopefully it will only be for a little while.

2 thoughts on “Taking my Heart Back

  1. I TRULY DON”T MIND!!!!!!!!!!! And I love spending time with you BONUS DAUGHTER!!! And……………. your fortune cookie says it all!!!!

  2. Yup that’s how I am with major life-changing lessons too… learn them, then have to re-learn them again. Good to hear from you, Cassie! Thanks for sharing! I miss you!- Ruth Lynch

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