After a heart attack, it takes about 8 weeks for the heart to heal the injured muscles. That is pretty amazing if you really think about it. Now, if your heart was injured during the break-up of a relationship, the general theory had been that your heart will heal in about half of the time that you were in that relationship. That is, it’ll take you six months for your heart to heal after your one-year relationship ends. There are newer studies, now, though, that claims it takes a lot longer for your heart to recover. However, my theory is that your heart will never, ever recover from a break up if you immerse yourself in Chris Isaak’s music as part of your therapy.
In the past 5 months, I have seen or personally have gone through a number of fracturing events, from divisions at church to broken relationships among neighbors to the dissolution of friendship groups. It has been tough on so many levels for those involved. Some of the fractures I saw coming in slow motion but yet I was unable or unwilling to do anything to alter the course of events. But in all of them, all of the hearts involved have been broken in some fashion.
Getting to the heart of fractures is a lot easier when the damage has been done, similar to performing an autopsy. After the fracture, one can see the reasons clearly and leads one to wonder what could have been done to prevent the fracture in the first place. Unfortunately, looking back at all of the fracturing events this year, I see that I missed several obvious inflection points where I might have been able to influence the situations into a different outcome.
Inflection points, according to Howard Stevenson, are “moments in time when the structures are removed and the rules are suspended.” Mr. Stevenson believes these moments are rare. I would argue that these moments happen more frequently than one would think. He also speaks of these inflection points of possessing “latent motivational energy” which has the power to “spur us into action” when we might not have taken action before on our own.
Conducting the autopsies on the fractures over the past few months I see points where I could have stepped in and offered a different course of action, a different path from where the fracture was headed. In fact, there were times I saw that course of action in the middle of the fracturing, but often I was silent because I was unsure about how my input would be received, or I was keeping my wall up in order to not be hurt by any blowback.
Tear down the wall
My deliberate action is two-fold today. First, I need to become more aware of these inflection points as I move about my day. This includes realizing when I need to speak up more, and realizing when I need to take more action. That action might be reaching out to someone first instead of waiting for them to contact me. It also includes diagnosing situations correctly, looking at things from a perspective way down the road. I need to see opportunities where others see problems.
The second deliberate action is to start tearing down my wall. Or at least put in a few doors to allow people through my wall. I think the protectiveness of my feelings has led me to be rooted in a position of inaction. I need to realize that, yes, by inserting myself into different situations I will be opening myself up to possible hurt. But if I try to do this with gentleness and love, with no pride or agenda in my heart, then perhaps I can help avoid future fractures, as well as avoiding future broken hearts.