“It is better for the heart to break, than not to break.” — Mary Oliver
I acknowledge the paradoxical truth of this statement, but gulp a bit as I do so.
It is true, I believe, that anything worthwhile I have learned in life has not come easily, but has been the result of pain and heartache.
Not so long ago, I had a major row with someone close to me. Afterwards I was upset, of course, but I wasn’t devastated. I found myself reflecting that, had a similar blow up happened two decades ago, I would have been lying in a fetal position on the floor sobbing uncontrollably. [Okay, this is an exaggeration... but only a slight one!] Now, because I have more experience with conflict and its aftermath and, more importantly, because I have become more tolerant of myself, I am better able to deal with difficult situations.
A friend who, at 35, had a special needs child told me that, until the birth of her child, she’d pretty much glided through life, with little to bother or challenge her. She is devastated by his many problems, but is delighted to be a mother and completely loves her son as he is. She tells me that she now has much more empathy for people with handicaps. Her heart had to be broken so that it could get bigger.
As I write this, I’m reminded of Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” with its lyric, “There is a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”