Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable.
I don’t know what it’s like to be old, but I think it is living long enough to look back at the things that were once breaking your heart, and laugh. – Merrit Malloy. I found this sentence on a greeting card decades ago, wrote it down because my heart was broken and I did not have the tools to fix it.
I remember thinking, “sure… that will never happen. This heartache is for life.” Decades later, I am able to laugh. Not because the heartache wasn’t painfully real at the time, it most certainly was. But that over time, we find a way to continue.
Heartache comes from so many variables: loss of a loved one (human or animal), loss of an opportunity, loss of a dream, and so many others. When we are experiencing it, it feels overwhelming. Like the walls of the world are closing in and we are suffocating in our sorrow, hoping for any salve to cure the pain and make it stop.
Sadly, the only real cure is time. Merrit was absolutely correct, you just have to keep living, and allowing your inner being to process the loss. This sounds like a prescription, but in reality, it is a sentence. You are sentenced to a period of time that you will serve before your ability to carry on becomes 100% again. Depending upon the cause of the sorrow, your sentence may vary considerably. Some sentences last a lifetime. We never get over it, we just compartmentalize it.
I have discussed in previous musings why and how the opportunity to become immortal lies in direct proportion to one’s ability to leave a positive influence on others. To imprint upon them a feeling that you project that will carry long after you have vacated your corporal vessel. A chance to resonate in minds whose continued presence will carry your vibrations within their being.
L. Frank Baum wrote the Wizard of Oz and 13 other Oz novels in the series, plus an additional 41 novels, 83 short stories, 200 poems and 42 scripts. He was certainly prolific but his entire body of work becomes memorable out of one single volume. And from that single volume, came a landmark in Cinematic History. A simple parable about a person who is in trouble who goes to great lengths to find a solution, only to discover that the solution was internal in the first place.
If you looked at the heart through the logical eyes of Spock, you would see today’s aphorism as accurate. Hearts are impractical because they are vulnerable and can easily be broken.
There is a scene in Men In Black in which Will Smith turns to Tommy Lee Jones after they have just spied on Tommy’s wife (who has gone on with her life, thinking Tommy is dead), and Will says… “Well, it’s better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all.” In Tommy’s inimitable dry style, he glances briefly at Will and says, “Yeah? Try it.” I think that is one of the most resonant lines in cinema. It captures that entire concept of duty over love, which is the ultimate prerequisite for an unrequited love story… the hero loses the lover because of a higher duty that they must fulfill.
All this being said, I take the opposite perspective to Baum’s statement. (Not his position, but the statement.) I think the great joy in life is that our hearts are capable of that intense love and passion. For people, animals, experiences, dreams, hopes and more. I would never trade having those feelings of intense joy in favor of living a life where my heart could never be broken again. August Wilson, the renowned playwright, summed it up… “You gotta take the crookeds with the straights.”
These are the twists and turns of the emotional rollercoaster. They elevate us to great heights, and the deliver us to incredibly painful depths.
There genuinely is no cure to any of it, other than building an emotional wall in which you eliminate the highs, so that you avoid most of the lows…. But that choice leads to a life not well lived and delivers mostly bland, tasteless experience that is weathered, not savored.
Hearts will never be made unbreakable. Expose yourself to those dangers and know that in doing so, you can experience the most amazing highs that life will provide…. But take caution in knowing that this choice opens you to some of the most debilitating feelings that life can offer.
Phil Collins and Genesis do a beautiful job in encapsulating these feelings in their song, Hold On My Heart.
Hold on my heart
Just hold on to that feeling
We both know we’ve been here before
We both know what can happen