When my kids were younger I vividly recall acquiring some words that were not really words into the fiber of our family’s vernacular. I can’t remember who started it or how it became part of the thread of our story, but one of those words was the contraction for “am not”. Homeschooling our kindergartener and pre-k while listening to a 3 year old rattle off contractions was pretty adorable and it sounded something like this: “Do not- Don’t. Can not- Can’t. Am not- Amn’t.” I have to believe I tried to correct the error of their ways, but that is beside the point as the legendary word “amn’t” lingers in the Hicks’ household vocabulary to this day.
Another one of those phrases was a stand in for the phrase “it depends.” It sounded something like this:
Me: “How do you want to celebrate your birthday this year?”
Child: “It matters. Can I invite my friends?”
Now, I know you grammar sleuths may be squirming at the very use of the incorrectness of this grammar, but all of those “it matters” really started to allow the weight of mattering to settle into a home where we could easily miss those moments and the very things that mattered to those right under our own roof.
Fast forward to two years ago and a friend inviting me to a Johnnyswim concert on a whim. I was not familiar with the band but as a musician I love learning about new music. The lyrics to one of their song says, “If it matters let it matter. If your hearts breaking let it ache. Catch those pieces as they scatter, know your hurt is not in vein.” The song caught me off guard and tears started to fall from my eyes. Waves of grief and remembering those mattering moments of multiple transitions, culture shifts, shattered pieces in our own story, broken relationships around me, walking with those who were grieving the loss of loved ones, and so much more. Stories of shatter and naming losses. The song ushered in an invitation to grieve that which I had no idea was simmering under the surface needing to be tenderly seen.
It does matter. Life is lived in the big and small moments. Sometimes in the seemingly insignificant everyday moments to us someone else may be experiencing some really big moments that matter greatly. Often it is in those “before and after” stories we tell that we face the significance of the shattering of what mattered to us so deeply. Before cancer, after cancer. Before the affair, after the affair. Before losing a loved one, and after losing a loved one.
- What may be some of those before and after places in your story that may need some attention?
- How do you care for your broken heart and those mattering moments in your life?
- How might you tune in to see past the surface layer in the small talk conversations of those in your circles to seeing the heart layer that communicates to them, “I see you. You matter. Your broken heart matters.”
It can be easy to be crippled by fear as we notice someone dealing with a significant life event or loss of some sort and we can often stumble over our words not knowing what to say or not wanting to make things worse. From my experience, hope and healing comes from sitting with others in the sacred space of the shatter, naming the losses, and holding space for the significance of the mattering moment in their journey. It matters.