How to Live in a Heartbreaking World

Bringing love to grief

Every day there is another news story that devastates me. Fires and floods, hurricanes and earthquakes, and more recently – senseless, heartbreaking destruction of the human variety. How can we live every day in this world that breaks our hearts? In a world that has become increasingly unstable and frightening, how do we let our children go out into the world, how do we ourselves risk living fully?

We must go into this world armed with faith and love. And only faith and love. This is a terrifying suggestion, I know. But the one thing we can control in an uncontrollable world, the only thing we can control, is how we show up to it. We can do nothing more. It is the most important action we can take, to bring love to hate, to bring love to fear, to bring love to loss. It is only love that will heal.

How do I know this? Because I’ve stood in the rain and howled with grief at the ways this world has broken my heart. I’ve watched my brother die and let it break me wide open. Then a year later, I watched my mother die and broke open once more. The trick is to let your heart break open – not to break down, not to break up, or to break closed but to break open. This world can break you, no doubt about it, but if you break open, you are stronger than ever and able to hold all the grief and love that life delivers to you.

To let my heart break open, I had to walk into the center of my pain. I had to be there with it, in the dark of the night, in the aching early hours of the morning when I was most tormented by it, I had to surrender to what I felt. I cried. I raged. I cried some more. I let my pain move through me. And I brought love to that pain. Because the source of my pain was love. I lost people that I loved and the only cure for my grief was more love. I invited my friends in, I talked to therapists, I went to grief groups, I let the love I had for my mother and my brother carry me. It was all I could do. To love and to keep loving. 

It’s all I can do now, in this heartbreaking world, to love and to keep loving. We must love ourselves and one another more fiercely than ever. To live in a world that is frightening, we must commit small acts of love and faith every day. Today, I sent my children to school, with faith that they would be alright, with words and acts of love. It’s all I can do. It’s everything I must do. What about you? What acts of love and faith light your way in the dark days? Let’s connect and carry each other with all the love we can. 

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