Recently I’ve felt like a layer of my skin is missing.
I’m too easily bruised by a touch, burned by the sun. Stories I would have once skimmed over, seem to get stuck against my skin—a bandage I’ve tried and failed to rip away.
My heart is heavy these days, and some days I want to take it off my sleeve and lay it down. Let it rest a while by the side of some road. Perhaps a stranger will notice it and carry it a while, or place it somewhere in a “Lost and Found.” And I will walk a few miles further, no longer weighted down.
So how do we walk on this earth full of chaos, when our hearts are too easily touched? How do we navigate the every day, when the every day is an onslaught of violent headlines? How are we to live and breathe among these other beings when we’re constant witnesses to unkindness, selfishness, greed and apathy?
Oh, darling, all we can do is breathe!
We can put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward, even when we feel like those loving hearts of ours are too heavy to hold. Even when we feel like they’re growing tattered on our sleeves or crushed in the hands of others. Even when we feel like they’re bleeding out—we just go on.
And we keep our eyes open, because there’s more to see in this world than chaos—than violence, unkindness, selfishness, greed and apathy. There is dew resting softly against a thick waxy leaf, like a lover’s cheek resting against that of its beloved. There is the softness of water, falling now outside the window, overflowing from puddles that a child may splash in as she walks by. And that same water, elsewhere, is falling down, flowing and shaping even the hardest of rock into the smoothest of stone. And there’s the smoothest of stones being skipped across water somewhere else, recalling other childhoods, ours or another’s. There are sunflowers turning, even now, toward the sun somewhere and fields of lavender swaying in the breeze like the loveliest of dancers.
There’s more beauty in the world than our hearts can hold, and we can rest in the smallest of moments—our senses open to the loveliness of a world that so often feels sharp against our fragile skin. We can seek out places for our eyes to rest, tiny reminders of our hope or our faith or of love. We can find healing in the mindful moment when we simply notice the beauty in the lives we’re living.
Tired and missing a layer of my skin, I feel the soft cheek of my son resting near me, and I reach out to hold my daughter’s hand in mine. I count my blessings to the sound of their breathing and remember that the world is not all chaos and violence. It spins like magic, and it runs on love. And all of the heaviness in my heart becomes like so much dust that is swept away inside the sound of their breathing, with their hearts beating softly with my own.
And so, instead of laying down our heavy hearts by the side of some road—we carry on. We walk those miles, and this time we notice how all the colors are brighter against a sky that is gray and heavy with rain. We know that the rain will fall, lightening those clouds. The flowers will soak in the rain, growing stronger. The earth will offer new growth, and the sky again will lighten. And we’ll finally realize that our heavy hearts are the same. Inside of that knowing, we can rest in peace and gratitude for the lives we’re living.
Oh, darling, this life is more beautiful than we could ever imagine, if only we’re looking!
Author: Crystal Jackson
Image: Unsplash/David Marcu
Editors: Yoli Ramazzina; Emily Bartran