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Burning inside us is a tiny flame of hope. Sometimes it embodies a roaring bonfire, crackling with excitement and energy. Sometimes it is just a slow-burning ember, keeping us warm and alive in the midst of a numbing, tumultuous, or blasé season of life.

Lately, my flame has been only a tiny spark. It’s fragile, delicate, sometimes hard to identify. It’s still hopeful, but very small. The crackle of a tiny spark is hard to hear amid the cacophony of life.

Have you ever felt like you were doing better than you were? Able to hold it together all day. Then, when you sit down alone, you feel the brokenness seeping in through the cracks in your heart. You realize that you need more love and care than you thought you did. You realize that helping other people hold it together has taken a toll. You realize you need a little more self-love than you’ve given yourself.

It’s tempting to drown out the brokenness. Blast music. Turn on the TV. Open a million web pages. Go out with friends. Get drunk. Try to fix someone else’s life. Work out. Eat. But the brokenness is there. And I think it’s going to stay there until you sit with it, until you accept it. I think my brokenness will be there until I allow myself the time to mourn.

Ancient cultures had mourning periods designated for when something tragic happened. If your loved one died, you would take the time to weep. To grieve. You would sit with your tiny spark and give it time. You would fan it, sit by it, and allow it to take its time. It would catch ablaze slowly.

Our Western world doesn’t deal with mourning so well. We distract rather than grieve. We throw ourselves into our work. We throw ourselves into drinking, or filling our schedules. We throw ourselves into everything, hoping we won’t have to feel anything. And we profit nothing.

No matter where or when you live, you have to be a little counter-cultural to be healthy. So I’ve decided to be a little counter-cultural. To resist the urge to run full speed and ignore my tiny spark. I’ve decided to spend some time mourning. To give my little spark some time to catch ablaze again.

I hope that whatever is going on, you take some time to show yourself some self-love. It’s tempting to throw all our fuel into others’ flames. But if yours is small and dwindling… you need time. It might be time to mourn.

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