In my not-so-tiny city, I have been so blessed to build a not-so-tiny chosen family. I have scores of older brothers I never wanted, big sisters to swap closets with, little brothers who show up on my door and leave with packed healthy lunches for the week to prove to their real mothers that they are actually eating green things, and the older artists in my life that have become almost “on-site” parents, aunts, or uncles when my real parents are scattered across the country.
I had tea with two the other day. I had met her briefly working on a show and when they were in a pinch several months later she hired me to stage manage for her husband. We laugh still about how she hadn’t really known me before that project and had unwittingly unleashed me on him. He wasn’t expecting someone who could out sarcasm him in the rehearsal hall. Now I’m the first stage manager he calls and we’ve all become close friends.
Like the good aunties they are, the conversation turns to my love life and any boys that may need a good scaring. (If I’m lacking, they always know a few good boys…)
I explain my current long distance intercultural situation.
He is drumming his fingers on the table by the time I finish. I don’t even bother to ask, I raise an eyebrow instead.
He tells me to be careful. He doesn’t like the sound of where this might lead, not because of the cross-cultural part, but because without full support from both families, we don’t have an end date to the distance, there isn’t a happy ending in sight for us, not yet. Though we’re working on it. I am reminded that my heart is fragile, more fragile than I know. Just because I have survived heartbreak in the past, doesn’t mean I should be okay with the potential or likelihood of experiencing it again. I should never have to go through that pain again and again – like he did. It almost ruined him. His wife agrees. She watched heartbreak almost kill him. They tell me to be careful.
If I can see the brick wall ahead, why am I driving 90 miles an hour straight into it?
Heartbreak and the shattering grief will change you. He says. Love isn’t always worth it.
Which while I understand the sentiment, I know he comes from a place of love and care, and I recognize what he is saying,
I completely disagree.
Maybe he’s right, that this relationship I have will end in heartbreak because of the challenges we face. Maybe a broken heart is the ending I have to look forward to in all of this.
But the world has never been a worse place for love put into it.
And a broken heart heals with time and love. They are proof of the love I am surrounded by, if I am broken I will heal.
If I am changed, it will be for the better. I will be stronger.
My heart has been broken before. In the gasping sobs, breakdowns out of the blue, can barely eat for days, years worth of scars and healing, kind of broken. It took two years and contractually obligated communication before we could be in the same room together peaceably, kind of broken.
But I wouldn’t change a thing. The bad days do not negate the good. I would not give up the mountaintop picnics and smuggled wine to be spared the tears and anguish later.
I will not step back and deny my heart the joy it has found in this person, in order to protect it from what may come.
The odds are stacked against us, it is likely that this ends with my heart in pieces again.
But I would not lose a moment of this love just to be spared the pain later on.
Suffering is a part of life, aren’t we so lucky when we find something worth suffering for?