back of girl walking down a driveway at night

the strength of the human heart

As I was driving on 675 this morning I suddenly had a strong urge to keep driving…to just keep going. I scrolled through the mental list of things I’d need to cancel over the next few days, thinking “They’ll all understand if I have to reschedule. The store will be fine. Everything can wait.” And that was about as far as I made it. Because I told myself that I can’t run. As strong as the impulse is to run away from everything when things get tough, it doesn’t solve anything. This is a truth I know, inherently, deep down. But it’s hard to remember when the ache is something I can’t seem to get away from.

Sleep doesn’t help because when I wake up and remember that things aren’t what they once were, it hits me again like a heavy wave. Everything looks different now. I look around and see my world with new eyes, like I just woke up to find myself in a strange foreign land that’s so surreal it actually makes me feel like I’m asleep and dreaming. In my new reality, I’m trying to figure out what things look like now, and where I go from here. I’m re-learning old ways. I’m questioning myself. I’m finding ways to fill the void, to fill the time. In a way I have a clean slate and can do anything. In another (scarier) way, I feel a strange vulnerability that brings new meaning to the word “alone.” I feel like I’ve lost my shield and I’m pushing my way through the front line with just my sword and my intuition.

But the one truth I know more sincerely than any other, even more than “you can’t run away from your problems” is that the strength of the human heart is unbelievable. And I’m waiting for mine to prove it to me, again.

In life we take a lot of beatings. We get knocked down. Over and over. I have to believe that very few people’s lives are truly easy. The nature of life is that it’s peppered with hard times…people get sick, others leave us before we’re ready, there are a whole host of things we experience, sometimes when we thought we were headed solidly in a totally different direction. And these things try us. At times it feels like we can’t take any more. At times it’s hard to take a deep breath because we feel fragile, as if breathing too deeply might actually cause us to shatter into a pile of broken pieces.

Other times it seems like the only solution is to just keep driving, as if the miles on the road will put more distance between the pain of our emotions and our current experience. If we just keep driving maybe we can outrun the memories that creep in, sending sharp needles through our insides.

But it doesn’t happen that way. Because whether we like it or not, the only thing that honestly helps heal the pain of change- the pain of heartbreak- is time.

Whether we like it or not, our hearts keep beating. We keep going, one step, then another. One day, then another.

As much as it hurts to simply breathe in after something breaks our faith and leaves us raw and aching….as much as we think we can’t bear it….slowly it becomes easier to breathe again. Our hearts heal, over time, no matter what.

One breath at a time. One heartbeat at a time. We heal. That’s the strength of the human heart.

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