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Have you ever had your heart broken? Not like minute, pathetic little bit of sadness. Like the searing, scarring, unforgettable destruction of your heart. The pain seeps through your whole body, morphing itself into something physical, tearing you to pieces on the inside. You feel like it’s never going to end. It’s just going to keep eating at you, breaking you off one painful bite at a time. It takes over your mind, your soul, everything. You can’t escape it. You can’t run from what is inside you.

This devastation can be caused by different things: the death of a loved one, a failed relationship. Maybe you’re an army wife, impatiently waiting for your husband to come home. There’s a knock at the door, and you practically fly to it, just wanting to be in his arms again. Instead of a tired soldier on your doorstep, you find a uniformed officer, cap in hand, with a look of hesitation and pity on his face. You collapse to the ground before he can even open his mouth. Or maybe you were the little girl, playing in the backyard on a normal sunny day, when all of a sudden you hear your mother screaming from inside the house. You discover her watching the news, covering a story of a plane crash in the World Trade Center. You see the fire and smoke pouring from the buildings, the wreckage from where the first building fell, the people leaping out of the remaining tower. You quietly ask, “Where’s daddy?” and all your mother can do is sob. Or possibly you’re the man who spends his nights in the bar. You drink away your worries, trying to forget about the pile of bills, your underpaid job with overworked hours, and how your wife left with her wedding ring sitting on the kitchen counter.

No matter how our stories differ from each other, both in content and range of agony, pain is pain. We all know the feeling of our hearts shattering, of disbelief, of denial. We fight it as long as we can, and finally reality breaks through. Then comes the anguish. The pure, bitter anguish. Coursing through your body as though blood. It wraps itself around your heart, squeezes it like a boa constricts its prey. Every memory or image connected to the thing or person you just lost is immediately pushed to the forefront of your mind. You close your eyes, you can’t get away.

So what can you do? You cope. Some seek help through therapy. Some turn to drugs or alcohol to numb their pain. Some use music or journaling in attempt to describe their emotions. Some simply can’t handle the suffering, and opt to commit suicide. Some just stay stuck in that point of time, unable to move forward with their lives. They replay and replay and replay that moment in their minds, trying to think about how they could’ve prevented the tragedy, or have been more prepared somehow. They blame themselves. What else can they do? Can you ever truly move on from a traumatic event? How can you let yourself get close to people again? How can you trust? If the person who meant the most to you was ripped from you unexpectedly, who’s to say that won’t happen again with someone else? Is anything dependable in this cruel, unpredictable world?

The truth is: something like this could happen again. You could get hurt again. Humanity will continue to disappoint you. People will let you down. Death and loss is a part of life. But here’s the secret: you jump anyway. Wholeheartedly. That’s why it’s called a leap of faith, not a dip-my-toes-in-one-at-a-time of faith. You take the risk. You laugh, you cry, you stumble, you rise up, you get hurt, you dust yourself off. Yeah, it’s a big scary world out there. So what? You’re gonna live like an ostrich with its head under the sand? No. You give the world a second chance. And then a third. We’re only humans; mistakes are bound to be made. Perseverance, determination, hope. These are what drive us. Life isn’t perfect, but that doesn’t mean we crawl into our shells and refuse to come out. No, we embrace life and all its mysteries. Horrible things happen, yes, but if we hide we miss out on all the beauty, love and awesomeness surrounding us. I, for one, don’t wanna miss anything.



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