A Theology of Duct-tape: How (and How Not) to Deal with Heartbreak

Duct tape is pretty awesome. I’ve used for all sorts of things – holding things in place, reattaching broken book covers (quite a rewarding process when you pay 50p for a damaged book and get it in some kind of functional order), the odd practical joke.

But you wouldn’t particularly use it for heart surgery. I mean, it’s pretty rugged stuff but it’s not designed for that.

Of late, I’m being re-acquainted with the reality of heartbreak. Heartbreak is real and it hurts. (Yes, guys hurt, contrary to the societal belief that men ought to be like the Tin Man but with some muscles. But that’s for a future blog post…)


In the month or so since the last really heartbreaking thing happened, I’ve been tempted to do all sorts:

  • Take a holiday – don’t really have that option now I work full-time so maybe not…
  • Move – see previous…
  • Do something to escape – doesn’t really work since you’re going to have to come back to it. 
  • Ignore it’s happening – you can but folks have an uncanny way of reminding you – back to square

If you think it through, any one of those responses is like fixing a tear in one of the chambers of the heart with some duct-tape. Considering duct-tape is pretty strong, I imagine it would hold for a while but realistically it would only make the break all the more pronounced.

So what’s a kid to do? How do I actually deal with those moments when the heart is broken?

Well I don’t profess to have found the definitely way to deal with it, God’s Word does:

  • Acknowledge it is real: I taught the last part of a three-week class on prayer last Sunday and I pointed out that the Psalms are the perfect example of realism. Psalm 74:11 is one of my favourites – the Psalmist tells God to take his hand out of the fold of his garment and do something about how he feels. He doesn’t apply what my pastor calls a SWEG – a sickly weak, evangelical grin, a plastic look that is supposed to be a symbol of contentment that we both know is anything but. Acknowledge it is happening and that it hurts.
  • Take it to God: I’m a firm believer in taking problems to people who can do something about it so take it to God. The Bible commands us to (1 Peter 5:6-7), so why on earth wouldn’t we? Pray about it – and don’t just pray about how you feel but pray to learn whatever lesson the Lord is seeking to teach you in this period.
  • Learn the lesson: Every experience God, in His sovereign wisdom, ordains is designed to teach us something so embrace the teaching opportunity!
  • Keep moving: Do what you know to do and do it faithfully! In my case, a few days after what happened, I picked up my Bible and my tablet and got back to teaching the Bible. I was still hurting profoundly but that hurt didn’t mean that I had to shut down. I didn’t know what to do in that instance but I knew what to do in general so I got on with it. For some of you reading this, the most helpful thing you can do is to just get on with what you know for certain is the right to do.

Beats using ‘duct-tape’, I reckon.