“It is only through letting our heart break that we discover something unexpected: The heart cannot actually break, it can only break open.” (Love and Awakening, Welwood)
Meet my fellow broken-open hearted warrior, Sinclair Williams.
It’s been just over one year, and my thoughts have felt like a ping-pong ball as I’ve gone back and forth about whether or not I wanted to share my relationship on social media. The journey has looked a little bit like this:
Months 1-3: This is all so new. This is my first time being in a romantic relationship. I honestly don’t even know if we’re gonna make it through the week. There’s no way I’m posting about this!
Months 4-8: We still out here! We still dating–wow! These photos would be so cute to post….but…nahhh. It feels like we live in a world where nothing is real/true unless we post on social media, so I’m gonna be countercultural and intentionally choose not to post about my relationship. I’m gonna prove to the world and myself that I don’t need no instagram likes or facebook comments to validate this amazing relationship I’m in.
Months 8-12: If I’m being honest, my main reason for not posting these days is because I’m pretty darn uncomfortable with uncertainty. Sharing that I’m in a relationship feels risky. Yet, in my conversations with God as of late, I’ve felt a gentle nudging to be more vulnerable, to openly acknowledge the risk inherent in romantic relationships…to openly acknowledge the risks inherent in life…
So, here I am, about to enter month 13 of my first romantic relationship (and long-distance on top of that #ConnecticuttoCalifornia #LiteralCoasttoCoast), and I’m trusting in God’s leading and taking the risk to be vulnerable. I’m posting in hopes that my words might be healing and helpful for others to embrace the wholeness and holiness of their humanity, regardless of relationship status.
“In moments when we can reach out and celebrate life’s beauty, in spite of its pain or sorrow, we discover something sweet–our own wild and beautiful heart. To live with a broken-open heart is to experience life full strength.” (Love and Awakening, Welwood)
I want to be a broken-open hearted warrior.
For so long I’ve been fearful of being brokenhearted, especially in the context of this relationship. Even in the most wonderful of moments with Sinclair, I’ve felt my inner posture become one that fearfully braces for heartbreak and devastation. Things are great now, but how long will this last? It’s so foreboding it sometimes feels near impossible to continue choosing relationship. But if all I imagine is heartbreak/rupture/division, I’m allowing fear to be in the driver’s seat of my life, and I know that isn’t what God wants for me.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…” (1 John 4:18)
Being broken-open hearted proposes a different possibility. Broken-open heartedness allows me to see the realness of a love that is filled with a myriad of both-ands…both hope and disappointment, both joy and sorrow, both comfort and pain. Being a broken-open hearted warrior challenges me to see the not-so-easy aspects of relationship as breaking me open rather than breaking me. It’s still really hard, but I want to move towards, not away from, this type of love. In every aspect of my life, I want to draw nearer to a love that is greater than fear and is willing to embrace life’s both-and. I want to boldly and unashamedly name fears, losses, uncertainties, and insecurities and proclaim that though these feelings are real, they have no real power over me nor any relationship I am in.
So here’s to choosing broken-open heartedness, trusting and believing that what is meant to be, will be. Here’s to saying I’m loving a man named Sinclair Williams and have no idea what God has in store for us, but I’m down to trust in God’s ability to guide more than my ability to perfectly follow. Here’s to saying yes to the unknown as I trust God with both of our hearts, believing that we will never be left broken, but only broken open. And so I pray…
Dear God, in the moments we experience disappointment and hurt and unmet expectations, I pray we do not fear a brokenness beyond repair. God, I pray that we desperately choose to spy out opportunities to cultivate and excavate deeper resources within ourselves, to awaken our souls and break open our hearts to Your good gifts and never-failing-wrap-around Grace, Peace, Mercy, and Love that will meet us in both our sorrow and our joy. May your Divine Presence remind us that You are enough, oh God, and that we are enough. Amen.
“A broken and contrite heart, o God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)
Edit on September 27th, 2021: My relationship with Sinclair ended in January of 2021– one year after I published this post.
I’ve decided to keep this post up because the two years I dated Sinclair taught me so much about myself/relationships/God/community/Love, and I unapologetically stand by everything I wrote in this post. Being with Sinclair allowed me to experience the realness of a love that was filled with a myriad of both-ands…both hope and disappointment, both joy and sorrow, both comfort and pain…and the years I spent growing in intimate relationship with Sinclair helped me learn how to boldly and unashamedly name fears, losses, uncertainties, and insecurities and proclaim that though these feelings are real, they have no real power over me nor any relationship I am in. Though we are no longer dating, Sinclair Williams is a significant part of my life story and I will be forever grateful for the ways in which our relationship embodied the fullness of what it means to say yes to broken-open heartedness.
And so I proclaim, yet again: