Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dear Hilary, Love, Hilary: And We All Break Open

This week I'm linking up with Joy's life, unmasked series to share a bit about my life, unmasked. I write it out in letters to myself, but I hope you come over and share with everyone, however you tell the beautiful story of you.

Dear Hilary,

I think I have a broken heart. I know, it sounds so melodramatic. It sounds petty. It sounds ungrateful. After all, who am I to have a broken heart, when there is so much beauty in the world, and so much to be thankful for? Why are hearts so heavy?

Weight of the World

Dear Weight of the World,

Oh, love. I know this question well. I used to walk around campus in college some nights, blinking back tears because I didn't want anyone to think that I was sad, but feeling like my heart was going to break my ribcage open with everything it carried. I held so many people in my suitcase heart - that's what The Weepies sing in "Slow Pony Home" and I would sing it to myself and walk through the empty sidewalks. My shoulders sagged forward, and I would feel my lip tremble, my throat tighten in just the way it does right before you're about to cry.

I don't know that advice in these moments is really what you want. So I want to give you something, small and fragile, to carry with you: we all break open. 

Yes, we all break open. For some, we break over love - unrequited, unfair, uncontrollable, misunderstood, messy, beautiful love. For some, we break over honesty - when we have it, or when we don't, when it confronts us or we run from it. For some, we break over the job we desperately wanted and didn't get. We break over the city we left years ago and still dream of. We break over the dishes not being done and the bills unpaid, over the unread blog posts we published and the loneliness of an extra three hours' of work on a Friday night.

You do have a broken heart, dear one, you do. That doesn't change the real beauty, how the wind and the leaves whip themselves into a frenzy when you run by the pond in the morning. That doesn't change the good things that have appeared before you - the note from a friend or the surprise free time or the news that someone you love has had something wonderful happen to them. Your broken heart won't break those things.

I know it's possible you can't trust those answers, or you can't hold them or hear them. And that's okay. Those nights walking around campus blinking back tears singing "Slow Pony Home" I could not hold all the beauty and all the gratefulness and all the joy. And even now, as I write these words to you, I know there are days when I cannot really understand why our hearts break, and why we must allow it to happen.

But we all break open. We are all gutted from the inside out, all opened by difficulty, all widened by pain. You are entering the midst of all of us, with your suitcase heart set next to ours, and even if we cannot understand who you carry inside you, we can make space for you. Even if we do not know what particular ghosts and questions linger at your shoulder, we can hold you. We all break open so that we can bleed more love. We all break open so that we can begin to build out towards each other. We all break open to pour out.

Break with us. And I promise we will hold each other close as we do.



  1. tanya @ truthinweaknessFebruary 17, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    we sure do, don't we? thank you for offering all who come here the freedom to be just that.

  2. What sweet reassurance to know that I am not alone in my brokenness!  Thank you for being so vulnerable and honest, yet unshakably hopeful and full of grace.  Your words could not have come at a more appropriate time!  

  3. I'm so glad, Janae. Yes, that balance of honesty and vulnerability and hope is difficult and I'm still learning it. I hope we can learn it together. Thank you for visiting.

  4. Thank you, Tanya. Yes to the freedom to be that, because we all that. Thank you for visiting.


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