I’m listening to too much Damien Rice. A particular lyric is playing on a loop in my mind,
“There’s always time
On my mind
So pass me by, I’ll be fine
Just give me time.”
You don’t expect to be broken hearted in your 40s, and you certainly don’t expect it to happen twice in a year. Isn’t that stuff for teenagers? And like any pain, when it’s at its most intense we would give anything for it to stop. We can distract ourselves for a time but it’s always there and it is scant consolation that deep down we know that there is a medicine, one true cure that will heal the broken pieces: time. Always time.
There is no fast forward (or rewind), however much we may wish to accelerate (or avoid) the grieving process. But sometimes we do things that slow our progress. One of the ways we do this is with three small words: let’s stay friends.
By staying friends we initially shield ourselves from the worst of the pain, placing a band-aid over our wounds. In the familiarity of each other’s company we conduct a careful dance, trying to shield each other and ourselves from the pain that we know lurks underneath, whilst trying to find a gentler way to move on with a minimum of hurt.
But the pain can’t be smoothed away and it can’t be avoided, it will distribute itself gradually over time until something causes it to grab you by the guts, forcing you to face it and to deal with it. Most likely this will happen when someone new enters the picture, when your friendship is forced to take a back seat and your special place is reserved for another, carrying with them the hopes that were once to be found within you. And the pain won’t be denied any longer.
Time, always time. It must be allowed to do its work to replace pain with acceptance, regrets with hope for a better future. And to allow this we need something else, patience, for in the words of Guns N’ Roses,
“It’ll work itself out fine,
All we need is just a little patience.”
Patience is indeed a virtue but it is a difficult one to apply, particularly in the fast-paced world in which we live where such store is set in immediacy and short-term wish fulfilment.
And what we need here is trust. Trust that the future does indeed hold better days, and in moving towards them we can patiently use our time to learn the lessons that are available to help us to understand why love wasn’t enough, and what we can do differently in the future to avoid the mistakes of the past.
On my wedding day I gave the following reading, from the wonderful novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin:
“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your root was so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being ‘in love’, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.”
In the shadow of a broken marriage and recent relationship break-up my faith in this passage, and trust that I will have such a love in my future life, is tested, but it is still alive.
Soundtrack: Older Chests – Damien Rice