March 17, 2022

The People we meet Transform us—Even the Ones who Broke our Heart.


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There is a war in Ukraine and other parts of the world too, and still, my mind wakes up thinking about emotional attachments to people, places, and things…but mainly people.

The truth is that if we want to move past the battleground and the trauma, we must embrace our wounds and sit with the pain and loss. We must allow ourselves to feel completely all of the emotions, for these are like sunrise, and a sunrise would not be a sunrise without all the hues.

The world is on fire right now. This is certain.

For many, this stirs up the pain of the past, and when the present feels bleak, we feel anxious and uncertain of the future.

A few months ago, a young man came to live with me. He is a friend of my cousin, who found himself without housing and was living in his vehicle. Where I live, we have extreme temperatures, and this is actually dangerous.

Our city, at the time, had housing shortages due to the pandemic. A few days into the living situation, I tried to make small talk about shows and asked if he watched a particular series. As the words came out of my mouth, I watched his eyes water as he whispered, “I used to watch that with someone I used to know.”

He was talking about a past lover, and he couldn’t acknowledge her.

The most difficult part of grieving and getting over someone is accepting that the person you experienced intimacy with now walks the planet without you, moving through life. The person you shared your soul with becomes that “person that you used to know.”

This is true, and yet, I believe that the essence of our love stays with us through life. If this is true, every person we meet will change us as love changes and transforms us. We are relational beings who live in the world. It is impossible for us to engage emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually without being transformed and changed.

I did not share this belief with my new housemate when his eyes brimmed with tears. Instead, I just listened and watched how his body softened with the exchange and attention. In conversation, he became more open. For a brief moment, he let his pain come up to the surface, and he sat with it in my company before pushing it back down and moving along.

Pain can feel like it is too much at times. We want to fast-track and get over the loss. We want to banish grief like the plague or pandemic. We want this because if we let the emotions rise, we have to deal with the pain, and we are often not ready.

Life is a revolving door, and there are people coming and going on this planet. There are people coming and going in and our of our lives. The greatest transformation is the person that you are today and the one you are slowly becoming. The person that you used to be is the shadow of the man and woman you were when you were with your former lovers.

This is for those who have hearts that are broken and still walk the earth. This for the mothers and fathers who have lost and the children who are left alone. This for the lovers, old and young. The people we used to know are memories, yes, and we too become memories one day.

This, my friends, is how we live on.

This is love and this is life.

We are the people others used to know, and the story continues, and the song plays on.


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