Joann Macy said, “The heart that breaks open can contain the whole universe.”
It seems we spend endless amounts of time trying to keep our heart from breaking. But, life has a way of sneaking up on us with events that do just that. When all the dust settles, and you put the pieces back together, at some point you realize that you’re maybe a little stronger than you thought; compassion runs a little deeper inside of you and you care for those who are going through hard times just a little more. Basically we learn to be human.
Recently my cousin lost her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter in a massive rock slide here in Colorado. The family had gone out for a hike on a beautiful fall day. And then it happened, a rock slide the size of a football field over took them. One of the daughters was pushed to safety although still injured while five of them perished in a moment. My cousin’s family along with two nephews. With the news of the loss my heart broke open and grief poured in; grief for my cousin, a mother and grandmother who lost so much; for a son who had stayed home and 13 year old daughter who must now live without their parents and a sibling; for extended family and for more than a thousand people who attended their service who will now live without their friends.
It’s at times like this we are reminded that life is precious and of what is important. We face our on mortality and are reminded that it’s not about what you have but what you do with your life. Yes, I can see it now, “the heart that breaks open can contain the whole universe.”
I am so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine what you and your cousin must be going through. I am sharing a grief with some close friends who lost their 22 year old daughter to a sudden brain hemorrhage some months ago. The waves of pain keep washing over them, at times seemingly bringing all to a standstill.
In my personal experience of shattering grief I have had to decide whether to give up or move forward. With my reserves all spent I was compelled to reach out beyond anything I had or knew. I know that time heals but it is the reaching beyond ourselves in the moment of complete emptiness that transforms us and ushers us at once into a larger room than we could have conceived.
This is the “whole world” that we are also one with and must integrate at a deeper level of knowing for sense, for hope and for continuance. For me I found it also was a world that could only be parsed by love for nothing else was remotely of the substance or scope to fill all the void and dislocation. At such point we die to the smaller pre-grief world and its boundaries of time, knowing life from this point forward only in the now of the present moment. Now I was kept, now embraced and now secured. My mind stayed bewildered but my heart was assured all was, and could only ever be, well from that point on. For me this has changed everything. I wish you and your cousin, peace and joy, also love’s transformation to sustain you in this challenging time of your lives.
Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate that you took the time to respond.
Like everything in life this too must be walked out one step at a time. And so we put one foot in front of the other, breathing in and out, letting memories treasured in the heart be what propels us forward from one day into the next. Only time eases the shock of something so unexpected but memories of lives well lived are the energy that moves us forward.
I have concluded, like you, that love is all that can fill the void. We must see the “whole world” and every human as having intrinsic value and worth. It isn’t us against them, or I’m in and they are out. It is, in so many ways, about “we” and not just “me.” Nothing serves to remind us of that more than when someone is suddenly gone from our lives. The challenge is to live it daily which is my conscious decision to do. If I err let it be on the side of love and not hate.
Love’s transformation is the best one can ask for. Thank you!