The Strength of the Broken Hearted



This weekend I went to Oregon to be with two of my best friends. One, in particular, is in the depths of sorrow after her husband of 12 years decided to leave their marriage, their 7 month old child, and the life that my friend had believed she would live for the rest of her days. Her world was shattered and we convened in Oregon to sit with her and the mess that surrounds.

Her pain was humbling. So was her strength. She did not pretend to be okay or to be moving on, did not say anything about it being for the best, did not drown her sorrows in platitudes or excessive drinking or exercise; she just showed up. Honest and raw and making her way through the despair. In that, I saw a woman who can move mountains.

I also saw something that gave me peace, even in my own suffering. She is going to be okay. She is going to be better than okay. I think it feels impossible to imagine that right now. She’s orienting a divorce and learning how to be a (mostly) single parent to an infant child and all the while has her self-worth on the chopping block, imagining that it is a factor in how the man that vowed to be with her forever could so easily leave her behind. She is in that pool, swimming around with some scary fucking fish.

But because I am not in her head, am not in her fear and am not in her pain, I can see what she can’t – that she is going to get through this, that her heart will mend, that she will come to understand that her self worth has nothing to do with the decisions of this man and in knowing her self-worth, know that she deserves so much better. She is still in the middle of the fire, but one day she’ll rise out of it, phoenix-like, and fly right back into the beautiful, hope-filled sky. We all will.

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