Last night, a friend told me that she and her boyfriend had just recently broken up.
Even though I am not unfamiliar with heartbreak, I couldn’t – for the life of me – find the right words to say. In the middle of a crucial moment, I had forgotten all the things a person in her position would need to hear. So instead, as some sort of weak consolation prize, I gave her a hug and an unconvincing “You’re going to be fine.“
But now that I’ve gotten my bearings, here’s the thing. Here’s the thing, KB. The thing I should have said:
We seem to live in a world that celebrates a culture of nonchalance. A world where everyone is in a constant state of being ‘fine’ because fine is safe and pristine. Fine is a clever enough word to sum up absolutely nothing. Fine makes no attempt to rock the boat which, perhaps, is why we persist on using it. Fine is not a precursor to genuine happiness because fine is far too fake.
For all those reasons and more, I take back what I said last night. I want more for you than fine.
Fine is the cop out answer we give the world when we become too afraid to tell the real story. And the world needs your story. At the very least, I do.
For you, I want feelings. Waves of terror and grief. I want you to be swept away by anguish, by the cold hard reality of loss. I know it sounds harsh but I want you to experience it all, my dear friend. Because it’s only until you’ve gone through the process as honestly as possible that real lasting healing begins.
And you, my brave little giant, deserve authentic healing. Deserve wounds that have been sewn closed by that thing we call finality. Deserve chapters that have been shut tight instead of ones that beckon silently in the middle of the night, when you think nobody is watching.
You deserve to look back on this time of your life and say that it was a delicious and fruitful season of grieving.
It is my hope that you will fill journals and prayers and songs and conversations with all the feelings your heart can take. (Because, believe me, it can take far too much.) And if you need someone in the middle of the breaking or the mending, or just someone to watch silly movies with, then you know whose numbers to put on speed dial.
When all this is over – because, yes, it will end one day; the beautiful thing about ‘one day’ is that it can happen tomorrow. (No one ever really knows.) – or perhaps even in the middle of it, you will make art. You will write poetry and sculpt prose and find wisdom in the corners of your soul that you never even knew existed.
Heartache, I hope, will remake you into someone even more beautiful and multi-faceted.
Love is going to arrive again, my friend. When you’re busy enjoying the best of life, love is going to blindside you. It will creep up to you quietly or tackle you haphazardly. It will enter into your system, unannounced, and it’ll be different. But by this time, you will know yourself more and love will be better. Love will be so much better. I cannot attest to this just yet but I believe in it with all my heart.
I believe in it for the both of us.
For now, have the courage to feel the weight of the world. To wrestle with the tension, to accept that there are some questions that will never have answers, to seal old memories in a box marked: BEAUTIFUL.
Sit tight. The world is still good. Also, I take back what I said last night as the screen of that silly KTV machine glared its blue light across our faces.
You’re not going to be fine, my love. I couldn’t be gladder.
***And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling “This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!”
And each day, it’s up to you, to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say “No. This is what’s important.”
My sister-in-law just sent me this and I couldn’t help my tears from falling. I’m serious when I said that I’m very hopeful for my future. Yes, I am scared but that won’t stop me from accepting and giving love to people who deserves it. :)