We have trouble talking point blank about loss.
We want our stories to conclude with happy endings. We want our losses to come full-circle to gain. We love a good, powerful anecdote in which happiness makes a roaring comeback and our pitfalls were just temporary lulls. We do not like loss as a temporary state. We want all pain to be something we can move through.
But the problem with reality is that it doesn’t happen to concede to our idealizations of it.
The truth about the great, big losses in life is that they change you. They just do.
They get inside of your bloodstream, break down the tapestry of who you once were, and rearrange it. They alter the way you see the world around you. They change the way you understand your place within it.
And there is no escaping this process.
You cannot heal your way back to blissful ignorance. You cannot will your innocence back into existence.
But perhaps this doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
Maybe we are built to be affected by tragedy. Maybe our hearts, just like all our other muscles, are meant to be broken down and reconfigured, time and time again. Maybe this is how they grow into greater, more magnanimous versions of themselves.
Because the things that have the power to change us for the better in life leave a mark once they’re gone. They just do. They leave a scar that tells the story of a well-lived life.
Maybe it’s time we started worrying less about healing our way back to wholeness and instead started asking ourselves what our brokenness is capable of teaching us. Which lessons exist within those tragedies. Which opportunities are born out of pain.
Maybe the point of pain isn’t to heal from it at all.
Maybe it’s the cracks and breaks and nicks along the landscape of our hearts that make us the absolute most human.
Because if we are living life right, we are absolutely all going to be broken by it. We’re going to let things in and allow them to affect us and then be changed irrevocably once they’re gone. We’re going to let our hearts shift and rearrange.
We’re all going to suffer those great losses and we’re never going to heal completely from them.
But we are going to grow.
And maybe that’s the best that we can possibly hope for.