When It’s Hard to Keep Holding On: What Helps Me

So, it’s not when that package finally decides to show up here in the mail, dragged in through a foot of lingering snow.

It’s not when I happen to turn around at the sink and remember that pan broiling in the oven before it burns to a sacrificial crisp.

It’s not when, for a blink in the choreographed cosmos, the stars all align, and I can see the bottom of all the laundry baskets.

That’s not when it’s the best.

I mean, honestly, who really knows when it’s the best?

What feels like a great failure on earth may be revealed as a great success in heaven.


We can’t really keep going around saying that, “You know, everything is what it is” —- because how do we know how things really are and how things are going to turn out to be?

But I will just go ahead and say — the moment in the early morning dark, when she reaches, when she holds on to me, when her fingers stretch to find mine, when she finds and clenches tight, when I hear her breathing fall again into the rhythms of home and here and sleep —that is the moment I best remember, try to memorize, to always remember.

That’s the moment that re-members me.

“When life breaks our hearts, goes ahead and breaks parts and members of us — there are moments that can re-member us, that can put the parts and members of bits of our heart back together again.” ~The Broken Way

Her holding on to me re-members me. Her holding on to me — makes Christ intimately present to me.

The dark feels lighter, us holding on to each other, her fingers tied gently around mine like the relief of peace.

Maybe there is always just holding on through the dark.

A mother looked me in the eye this week and told me her son hung himself and she was holding on to that cross on her wrist, to living cruciform, to following Him who is the Way, to find the broken way through. We fell into each other, gripped each other’s backs. Hope is faith holding on a moment longer.

There are women who can’t remember the last time they were held, the last time they were pulled in close near another beating heart so they didn’t feel alone.

There are women who can never remember being cupped the gentlest, their faces traced and outlined by a fingertip of love, who can’t remember letting someone look long into their eyes without shame. Who can’t remember not looking away.

There are hands that forget what it feels like to simply be held, forget what it feels like to be connected deeply to just one other human being on this spinning planet.

There are parents reaching for kids who are reaching for something else, reaching away. Dads reaching for kids who don’t want to look back, kids reaching for Dads who have never really looked long their way, siblings who can’t find each other anymore and maybe don’t even care, women reaching for lifelines and only finding deadlines and end of the lines.

It can be hard to hold on when you don’t feel held.

The great challenge of faith is holding on to hope after you’ve lost your naïveté. 

A heartbroken woman announces this week that her young husband and father of two, died, ravaged with cancer. And she just shot straight with us: not once did she reach out to any church’s coffee bars, trendy lounges, and hipster ambience to help her hold on.

When it’s hard to hold on — no one holds on to what is cool. They hold on to Christ.

When it’s hard to hold on, no one holds on to what is hipster. They hold on to Him who is holy and healing.

When it’s hard to hold on — we don’t hold on to trendy, we hold on to the True Vine, we don’t hold on to the prevailing and popular because we need to hold on to the Prince of Peace and the true Perfecter of our Faith.

It’s the beliefs we hold, that hold on to us — even when we’re struggling to hold on.

And we can always keep holding on because our God can always be counted on.

The art of living lies in the balance of holding on — and letting go because He’s holding on to to you — He’s holding on to everything.

The art of living is about holding on to His promises — and surrendering to His plan.

Hold on to His promises.

Let go into His plan.

There are marriages holding on only by one fragile, fraying thread, and women holding on to thin hope by the skin of their teeth, and adoptive parents holding on by their whitened knuckles to just one more day, and parents of prodigals praying like searing, begging infernos to keep holding on when everything’s telling them to high tail it off this insane ride.

And there she is, coming to me at the end of the day, when I’m standing there by the sink with its basin of tepid water, washing the last of the pots up, and she looks up at me, both arms raised:

“Mama — Mama! Mama! Please, Mama, up —- I hold you.”

And I lean over — “You want to hold me, Baby Girl?” She nods, grins in her Cheshire Cat spreading smile way that melts me…

She actually wants me to pick her up, wants me to hold her — but the only words she knows are the ones for the holding that she wants  — are the words she’s heard me say a thousand times: “Come — I hold you.

Yes, Mama, Please, up — I hold you?

And I scoop her up — and the universe seems to jolt to a holy still — pause — and all us hanger-ons, all us holding on, we exhale:

Yes, child —- you can hold me — because I am holding you.

Yes, Child, You can keep holding onto Me — because I am always holding on to you.

And when she flings her arms around my neck, presses her love right into my cheek, I can feel it, the re-membering, parts of my broken heart re-membering —

all of us the children — can keep holding on — because we are the ones always held. 



Pick up our story of The Broken Way and how to love a brokenhearted world. This one’s for all of us who have felt our hearts break a bit

This one’s for the brave and the busted and the real and dreamers and the sufferers and the believers.

This one’s for those who dare to take The Broken Way… into abundance