I ran into a dear friend who I have known for almost my entire life. I hadn’t seen her for sometime. I could tell when I saw her that her eyes felt sad; she had more lines on her face and maybe gained a few pounds. I could feel that her heart wasn’t quite the same and her voice was quieter and more hesitant than the last time I saw her a few years ago.
I asked, “How are you?”
Tears welled up in her eyes and she explained that it’s been a hard few years, the most difficult that she’s known.
As the tears fell down her cheeks, she sat in the chair next to her friend and held her face in her hands as she quivered a deep cry she had come to know well.
“My life fell apart,” she said. “I thought that I was doing everything “right.” I thought that I was being a good mom, a good wife and a good member of society. I tried to be everything that I wanted to be and everything that I learned and thought was good. I put it in the center of my life and worked as hard as any human being I ever knew to heal from my past wounds so that I could live a happy and peaceful life.”
She continued . . .
“And yet somehow I missed a part of my spirit; a part of my of my heart that was dying and instead of looking at the deep pain of that, I just continued trying to live a good life, thinking and hoping that it would go away and in the meantime I could pretend it wasn’t there.”
She told the story that one day something happened and the truth that she had been hiding from was clear. In that clarity meant that all the veils of trying to be good that she knew well had to finally come down. And that as they came down the pain of letting go of trying, wishing and fixing left her in the darkest place she had ever known.
She stayed for sometime in hiding to heal, to understand, sort and pray that in all of her mess and pain there had to be some meaning and something that life was asking her to learn.
My friend explained that her pain was private. A pain that wasn’t connected to a disease, a sudden death, an addiction or an illness. It is the pain of the heart that nobody can see.
“Nobody knew the pain of my heart, except the ones who were by my side in the darkest days when I didn’t understand or could see who I was, she said.”
And as I went to sit closer to her, her body softened with the tears. There were no words. I sat with her for a long time in silence.
After sometime she looked up with clear, yet tired eyes and said, “I am still here. I will continue to do my best. I will keep living a meaningful life; I have faith that life is still on my side. The only one who knows my true heart is me and I am still learning.”
The dear friend I sat with was me.