Keep Your Broken Heart Open
I don’t understand, she said. I had a great trip being by myself experiencing the beauty of the gorgeous national park around me. I was not lonely and I felt very much in tune with nature and I felt happy. And then as I was driving home I was overcome by a deep sadness and I found myself weeping. It is a familiar sadness that comes and goes.
I know some of the sadness is still about him, the man who broke up with me several months ago. I am still grieving that loss, even though I can see now he wasn’t really a good partner for me in many ways. Since then I have grown in my ability to accept myself, feel good about my life, and have much more clarity of what kind of a partner I want to be with. And yet, this sadness.
The sadness seems bigger and deeper than the loss of a particular relationship. It feels like a deeper desire to be known, to be seen, and to be loved. It is a desire for an intimate partner to share my life with. I am confident that my life will be just fine if I never find that person but there is a space in my heart that longs for him. It seems so strange to be happy and sad at the same time but that is what I experience. I’m not sure what to do with that.
In the past I have been in a hurry to fill up that space with another relationship. I also know the fear of letting someone in again and it is tempting shut myself down and find ways to forget about my sad and lonely feelings. But grief needs time and space to heal my broken heart. My heart needs to stay open in order to grow bigger and stronger. If I shut down now I will lose the gift of my grieving. Somehow I need to live in the reality of my sadness and my joy and embrace all of it.
I remember the words of Kahlil Gibran in The Prophet: Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter arises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.