Friday, July 23, 2010
Half of my heart
A dear friend is going through a tough time. It can sometimes be difficult to know just what to say to someone whose heart is very obviously broken, for fear of further breaking what is already damaged. As I offered a hug and a knowing smile, my friend said something that has stuck with me: she said she was consumed with the pursuit of getting over it, so much so that she felt like she had failed. She was trying so hard, so hard to move on and just put it all behind her but felt like half of her heart was holding her back. That part of her heart, the one she couldn't control, wouldn't let her move forward.
It brought tears to my eyes, because I know how that feels. It's painful to be with your feelings, the ugly ones you don't want anyone to see. Sometimes feeling the bad stuff hurts too much and we'd rather just toss it aside and focus on the half of our heart we can control. It's a thin line we walk, between that half of our hearts and the other that simply feels for itself. We think that moving on is about control, about making ourselves feel this way as opposed to that way. If I could just feel that, we tell ourselves, then I'll be OK. It looks like roses, puppy dogs and rainbows over there where I should be feeling. Back here where I'm standing isn't so great, back where things aren't in sync and I'm left feeling like my heart is torn between what is and what should be.
The truth is, it's no different than a good, old-fashioned, three-legged race. Ever been part of a three-legged race? It's really not an easy or enjoyable experience, particularly when you aren't in sync with the other half of your team. You are typically in such a rush to make it to the finish line that it's easy to forget that your body is supposed to be moving in time with another. One of you is rushing and the other is desperately trying to keep up. Sometimes, you fall. Other times, you win. Winning a three-legged race isn't necessarily about rushing, it's about synchronizing your movements in time with your partner.
Those two halfs of your heart--the ones that don't always feel the same way--are no different. One will always be two steps ahead of the other. One will always feel that familiar pang of hurt while the other is off skipping down the road to Justin Bieber music. One will always be there to remind the other that sometimes you feel what you feel; and there's no changing that.
Maybe that half of your heart isn't there to hold you back. No, it never held you back in the first place. Perhaps it's there to remind the other half that it's time to slow down, feel the music, wade through the pain and learn to work in time. Not as parts--but together.