I think I have PTSD from Valentine's Day. Those years spent as a single mom were some of the best years of my life but also some of the most lonely and painful. When every magazine, TV show and social network was bantering on about romance, I just wanted to slink off and hide until the whole thing was over with.
Don't get me wrong, I did great things with my daughter. We'd go out to dinner and to the movies. We'd get flowers and decorate the dining room table. I did my best to create a version of Valentines Day that worked for us. But honestly, it still hurt.
I was ashamed of my loneliness. I believed that heartbreak was something I could have and should have avoided. I believed that I had done something wrong. I saw being lonely as a flaw, an error, an ignorance that needed to be fixed. I thought that maybe I had taken a wrong turn somewhere and believed that there was better road for me to travel. One that wouldn't have broken my heart. One that wouldn't have hurt.
And boy, was I wrong.
I have come to find that heartbreak is inevitable. That we were always meant to have our hearts broken in that specific way. And that all hearts were meant to be broken and mended again. This is the privilege of being alive: to be wild, to risk ourselves and to dance with the edge that calls us forward.
Whether it's the heartbreak of a stale marriage, or the the heartbreak of a failing career, or the heartbreak of a newly empty nest, our hearts were meant to be broken. There is no get-outta-jail-free card on this one.
What heartbreak are you trying to avoid? What would it mean to open your heart fully to this experience?
What horizon is beckoning to you? What would happen if you were willing to take that risk?
I have found that for every triumph there is an equal and irrevocable heartbreak. For every step forward, there is a piece of our lives that must be let go. And to try to move forward without having our heart broken is to paralyze ourselves.
The real triumph isn't arriving at the destination, it's not the marriage, the business, the 2.5 kids. It's not the big house or the new car. The real triumph isn't going to be met by cheering crowds, throwing confetti at our feet. The real triumph is that we dared to take the journey at all. That we risked ourselves even a little is the miracle to be celebrated.
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