Heartbreak as a Catalyst for Connection and Change
By Lisa White
No one is free from the reality of life… This quote from one of my favorite spiritual teachers, Caroline Myss, struck me as a truth when my ex husband, our 8 year old son and I gathered together to say goodbye to our beloved friend and companion, Maggie, as she sighed her last breath.
The cries of our son broke my heart. Death, however, is a part of life and we took him out of school so that he could say goodbye to his animal friend. As a parent you want to shelter your child from such pain, but we knew not being able to say goodbye would have hurt him more. I was struck by his bravery and acceptance as he saw Maggie’s x-rays, gave her treats, hugged and petted her, smiled as we took “family” pictures, was there for the injection and then gently removed her collar after she was gone. He was adamant about staying with her through the entire process. He was also able to express his pain and be in that current reality with compassion and grace instead of turning his head to hide from it – a precious gift of love and acknowledgment to Maggie in her last moments.
This made me think about how often we turn our heads from the painful realities of life..how afraid we are to feel heartbreak. Do you look away when you are at a stop light next to a homeless person asking for money? Do you change the subject when a friend needs to share their difficult time because you don’t know what to say or it makes you feel uncomfortable? Do you avoid negative TV or reading articles about unpleasant situations such as teen sex trafficking, bullying, joblessness or the rising number of foreclosures? Or do you judge those who may be in such circumstances? These are the realities of life that we ALL face together as a world and nation. Denying, avoiding and judging difficult subjects or circumstances just because they don’t exist in our immediate environment or because they make us uncomfortable disconnects us from each other and robs us all of the opportunity to experience genuine compassion for and connection to those who need our help.