Valentine’s Day is a day usually reserved to celebrate hearts full of love. But recently, I’ve been wondering about broken hearts at this time of year. I recently sat with a friend experiencing the pain of a broken heart. I empathized and held her hand as she tried to express what she was feeling. I felt, more than heard, her pain. I knew in that moment, as most of us who have experienced a broken heart, what she was feeling…
What sound does a heart make when it is breaking? I think it’s quiet- like the sound of fabric tearing or air hissing out of the tire. It’s the quiet sound of expectations, hopes and future dreams dissipating into the air. It’s an invisible bomb of pain that detonates leaving carnage only the broken hearted can see- an invisible mess of twisted metal and shattered glass that leaves a minefield of chaotic emotions that explode without warning. A heart does not break cleanly, able to be mended and put back together without a fuss. It leaves jagged edges that can be glued and buffed, but leave bits of sharpness in the repair that can be pricked and bleed without warning.
It is an emotional attack of the heart, and like a physical heart attack, it leaves damage that cannot be seen. Scars that exist long after the broken heart has healed initially. Ahh, the pain of a broken heart….who has not felt its stabbing viciousness and wondered if they could survive its onslaught?
As I sat with my friend, I wished I could do something that would heal her distress. But, as the survivor of a broken heart, I knew that I did not have the power to take away the pain she was experiencing. So, I held her hand and reassured her she was not alone and, even though she did not believe it in the moment, she would survive.
I hope that your Valentine’s Day is full of love and warmth, but don’t forget to keep your ears open for the quiet shattering of a broken heart that might be around you. Maybe you can share some fullness from the love that surrounds you to extend a hand to a breaking heart…and help it to begin to heal.