In the summer of '79, I had just ended my first marriage and was having a hard time navigating through life. I had recently bought a house in town, fallen in love again with a man I'd met at the local library where I worked, and was dealing with family members who were angry with me for both. The guilt I was feeling over being in this new relationship with nary a break between them and the pressure from family to conform to their expectations was unnerving me. I felt isolated, alone.
One night, when I'd reached a point where it all just seemed too much, I hung up the phone and sat down on the kitchen floor with my back against the cupboards not caring if I ever got up from that floor again. As I sat there, the music I'd put on earlier started to come through the fog. Billie Holiday was singing about heartache. I listened. I had no other choice. For some strange reason her song actually brought me back to life. Maybe it was knowing I wasn't alone with my feelings, others had known heartache, too.
No, I didn't stay on that kitchen floor. Heartache comes and goes and we go on with life determined not to make that mistake again. But we do. Again and sometimes again. Now, here comes the good part: I wouldn't change one moment of it. Not one. You see, a few years back Hafiz taught me how to sit with it, how to let it all go so I could get to God.
Don't surrender your loneliness
Let it cut more deep.
Let it ferment and season you
As few human
Or even divine ingredients can.
Something missing in my heart tonight
Has made my eyes so soft,
My need of God
Painting by Danish artist, Vilhelm Hammershoi (1864 - 1916)