"I know people can be mended. Not all, and some more immediately than others. But some can be. I don't see why not you." -Goatwoman, "Cold Mountain"
If you know me then you know Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain is one of my favorite books; if you don't know me, well, now you know. It takes place in the middle of the Civil War where strife and heartache wove itself into the everyday conversation of Americans all over the country. It's a tale of romance, heartache, sacrifice, patriotism, and independence.
As someone who has recently felt the low strum of heartbreak, I have found myself searching in my own time for a way to sort through these emotions. I sit now in my favorite hometown coffee shop, when a conversation I am having suddenly reminds me of a quote I have held onto for the last four years, "That's just pain," she said. "It goes eventually.
And when it's gone, there's no lasting memory.
Not the worst of it anyway. It fades. Our minds aren't meant to hold onto the particulars of pain the way we do bliss. It's a gift God gives to us, a sign of His care for us."
As I sit in this coffee shop, wanting more than anything to crawl under my covers and binge watch Netflix, my favorite book has forced me to focus. I have been forced to zoom out and remember how small I am in comparison to this Universe, how menial my temporary pain is in the grand scheme of things. How much I have to be thankful for.
Maybe it's best to remember, certainly not the events which it caused, but the pain itself. To reminisce about heartache because it can't last. It can't. Sure, there will be times when the walls feel like they're crumbling like you can't breathe. Like you're completely isolated in a room full of people. You will question and doubt and shout at God and ask why this is happening to you.
And it's okay to enjoy long walks downtown, to feel the cold air snag the breath in your lungs, to enjoy sunsets, and starry nights, and quaint coffee shops with killer cappuccinos. It's okay to drive with the windows down at midnight and the radio dial up as far as it will go and shout until there is nothing left in the world.
It's okay to write poetry until your hands can't move and there are no words left in the English language to describe the chaos in your brain. It's okay to cry until your body can't possibly produce any more tears.
"You’re left with only your scars to mark the void. All you can choose to do is go on, or not. But if you go on, it’s knowing you carry your scars with you.” Pain is sometimes a side effect of being bold--so is happiness, adventure, and love.
Don't live a life with regrets.
Don't be afraid to love people and love them with everything you have because you will be better because of it. Do things that scare you. Go places that intrigue you. Be a coach, or a diplomat, or an anthropologist, or a scientist, or a stay at home mom. Find what sets your soul on fire and never let it go. Search until home, is not a place, but the smile you wake up to every morning. It's there. Robert Frost is right--we have many miles to go before we sleep.