Broken Hearts

I bought myself a painting today. It’s a painting of an exploding heart. The picture is clearly a heart but its lines are blurred and the edges rain out over the rest of the picture.

I first saw this picture last fall at an art fair in Coronado. I almost bought it then- to me it was a beautiful representation of what my heart felt like at the time-broken-blown open and the lines of love blurred.

I didn’t buy the painting then, the image, while beautiful, incited anger, agitation, and bitterness. I knew buying that painting then would be a reminder to me that my heart was shattered and the resentment I felt over its brokenness would grow every time I looked at the painting.

Yet, I’ve thought about that painting a lot since I happened upon it. I’ve thought about how vibrant the colors were and how much it spoke to me. I have looked for the artist every weekend on the Coronado green since I passed up the purchase of this painting, to no avail, until today. Today, from across the street, I saw the vibrant colors this artist is known for and I thought, “I have to go look. What are the odds that ‘my’ painting is still there?”

As I flipped through the stacks of prints my eyes landed on a gold heart bursting out of a purple and hot pink background; its lines blurring out into the background and pieces of it flecking the surrounding image. My painting. It was still there, after all this time.

I chatted with the artist for a bit while making my purchase. He noted that this image is from a series of hearts he did in gold paint, and that this series sold particularly quickly; the gold had been popular. He was surprised there was one left.

I am not surprised. I stopped believing in coincidences long ago. My life has worked out the way it has far too well to be happenstance. I know that painting was meant to mine, but when I first saw it I wasn’t ready to see the beauty of a broken heart.

Eight months, a lot of step work, counseling, prayer, and studying the ways of my God and how He works, changed my mind on broken hearts. Broken hearts are a place to start. As Ann Voskamp says in The Broken Way, “Maybe the love gets in easier right where the heart’s broke open.” Without the cracks I have no room to let the Light in and allow it to change me.

I bought my painting today as a gift to myself for learning how to live broken open-honest, true, and kind-to myself and to others. I bought it because I now believe that broken hearts are beautiful. The broken hearted are the people Jesus reached out to in all the stories and it’s where He reached me. At my worst, my most busted up, the Light started to seep in. Now instead of seeing a heart that is exploding, shattered-I see a heart that is radiating the Light and love that is present in its cracks.

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