“To love is to live, and the only way to truly live is to love. Yet to love is one of life’s greatest risks as we open ourselves to the possibility of heartache and pain”.  – Kat Harris

It’s over, and just like that, the heartache begins.
The cab stops, and I quickly pay my cab driver through muffled sniffles.
My legs, like lead, take me upstairs.  
As I open the door to my bedroom, I finally give myself permission to come undone.
And I do.
My clothes fall to the floor and, like a robot, I change into my pajamas, curling into a tight ball beneath my covers.
This hurts so bad.  My hands grip my chest and belly as if the pain were physical.
Why does it hurt so bad? 
I wish I didn’t care.
Why did I let myself fall for him? 
Maybe it would be better if we’d never met. 
How long will it feel like this?
Does he feel it too?
Seconds or hours later, I’m not sure, with mascara tears falling onto my pillow, I drift to sleep…

We’ve all been there:  the painful solitude of heartbreak.

Vulnerable and exposed; you feel lonely, and exhausted. The heaviness hovers, and seems to be a constant companion in these restless nights.

There’s something about being emotionally, physically, and spiritually intimate with someone that seeps into every fiber of our being.  The walls in which we compartmentalize our lives come crashing down whenever we experience the heartache of a love lost.

We work really hard to keep things in their neat and tidy corners, but when one thing falls apart, we experience the pain of it in all other areas of our lives. It’s this all-consuming, feel-it-in-every-fiber-of-your-body sensation that extends out of your soul to the tips of you toes, through your tendons to your bones. The grief that accompanies love lost is a grief that, at times, you feel physically, like an unshakeable dull ache that’s its own presence. While life around us keeps moving — dusk turning to night and night giving way to dawn — the hours spent nursing a broken heart feel eternal.

Heartache is an experience we must go through head-first.

Constantly I yearn for it to be over, but the reality is this: Heartache is an experience we must go through head-first. There is no easy answer or quick fix. There’s absolutely no quickening of the process. No one can tell you how long it will last; it may be one night of tears, or a year down the road before you wake up unexpectedly realizing time has healed your heart. “There is nothing we can do with suffering, but suffer”, C.S. Lewis wrote after the death of his beloved wife.

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As I rove the valleys of my own heartache I remind myself it’s worth it.

Love brought my soul to life.
Love invited me on a journey to dive deeply into the unknown.
Love asked that I let go of control, and surrender to the process of it all.

The first step was the hardest: allowing myself to be known, seen, heard, and cared for by another. But the freedom and joy that accompanies sharing your life with someone else is incomparable.

We gave each other permission to be. To hope and to struggle, and, in those quiet moments together, I learned love creates a sacred space between two people.

He taught me that with love there is endless possibility. If that means I must experience pain along the way, I am ok with that.

Even now, in the midst of heartache, I wouldn’t take back one moment.

Pain is not an act, but a process.  Fighting or numbing it will not stop the process of pain; it will only shut off our hearts to all feelings.  The journey through the dark night leads to a sun-soaked morning to come.

As pain can feel invasive: is it not the same with love? Love permeates and crashes into every cell of our beings. I would argue love is the most powerful thing in our human experience.

Love creates and evokes.
Love is magnetic.
Love heals and sets our souls free.
Love connects and unites.
Love forgives.
Love redeems.
Love hopes.

To live a full life is to love, taking on the great risk of the pain that might accompany it. Pain is real, there’s no denying it, but love is more real.  You may — no, you will get hurt — but to love is the only way you will truly live.

And it is forever worth the pain.

Image via Chelsie Autumn Photography; Calligraphy via Jenna Kutcher

2 comments

  1. Wow! I feel like finally there are words to what I am feeling and going through right now. Thank you! I feel like I need to read this as a reminder every evening when my emotions get the best of me.

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