HOW IT IS


Honestly,
no one warned me.

No one said,
“It will be brutal,
darling.”

If you try,
you will fail.
If you love,
you will lose.
If you can breathe,
you will cry.

And if you have something
precious,
you will have to let it go.

Sooner,
or later,
or (most likely)
a little bit
every
single
day
along the way.

No one told me that
if you find a true love,
you might not (probably won’t) have him
forever.

He may leave,
you may leave,
he may leave you no choice
but to leave,
or
he may love you heartbreakingly well
but one of you simply
may not live
as
long
as
the
other.

Because
if you are alive, you will
grow old.

If you bloom, you will
fade.

If you can feel, you will
also
feel hurt.

This is
how it is.

Every lovely thing
will come to an end,
or it will come with its own sharp, jagged edge
or some completely unexpected,
unfair,
inexplicable
loss.

Or all of those things
eventually.

Everyone you love will let
you down.

Every dream you chase will wear
you down.

Any risk you take could take
you down.

But.

If they had…

If they
had
warned me.

I hope they would have
also told me,
Yes.
Yes, it will be brutal.

And, also.

It will be breathtakingly beautiful.

Usually both
at once.

And, if you let it,
that sharp, jagged edge can
open you up
to even more beauty,
even more life,
even more love.

But if you don’t—
if you try with all your might
not
to feel that edge,
or if you pretend
(or
truly
believe)
there is nothing to feel,
or if you feel it but never speak it—
your brutal truth will sit inside you like a
ball of flame
eating away your gut

and your chance
for more.

The music will dull.
The colors will dim.

Because if you
somehow
numb the pain, you will
also numb
the brilliant purple hope
of a lingering summer sunset
and the chilled thrill of a
popsicle
on parched lips.

You will miss the beauty
altogether.

You will disqualify yourself from the dazzling
possibilities
that still exist.

So.
If you can,
(I know it is hard, love,
but if you can)
and when you are ready,
find a way
to keep yourself open
to both
the beauty
and the brutality.

And if you can,
try to
let go
a little
bit
more
every day.

Because if you can do this,
this
very
hard
and
brave
thing,
you will not just
survive.

You will be truly alive.

Because this is how it is,
darling.

This is life.

And this is your chance
to live it.

 


Last week I learned that my friend’s husband – her high school sweetheart, the father to their three sons and former baseball coach to my son – died. He was three years older than me. He was supposed to be around a lot longer. Cancer had other plans, and it’s not fair.

I keep thinking about how this world must look to my sweet friend right now. I’ve never had a beloved spouse die, but I’ve lived through some raw, surreal moments of shock and grief and loss. I’ve had the kind of days where you just can’t believe people are still buying salsa at the grocery store when life as you know it has just ended.

Somehow, I remember that during those vulnerable weeks and months, the glistening of the dew, the glow of the sunrise, and the rustle of the breeze became even more vivid. And, I think, more soothing.

I sometimes tend to hold that ball of fire inside my gut because letting it out might be messy, hard, loud, inconvenient, and painful. Lately, I’m trying to speak my truth, feel my pain, and let it go.

Here’s to living, friends. All of it.

xo


Artwork by Emily Winfield Martin: 1/2

14 Comments

  • Julie

    Thank you, Katrina. xxoo

     
  • Katrina

    Julie, I love this so much. THANK YOU.

     
  • Julie

    Thanks, Heidi. I was probably mostly reminding myself. <3

     
  • Heidi

    Love this. Thanks for these reminders.

     
  • Julie

    Thank you for your generous words – and sweet reminder, Mark. xxoo

     
  • Mark McNeil

    Julie, the way you pour yourself into such few, well-crafted words continues to amaze me! Thanks for sharing your talents and gifts of creativity. “Everyone you love will let you down.” applies to all but One! He never lets us down, but does carry us through all those brutal times and walks with us. 🙂 It is great to be truly, fully alive!

     
  • Julie

    Oh good. Thanks, Lisa! xo

     
  • Julie

    Thank you, Michael. xo

     
  • Lisa Cronkhite

    Very thoughtful! I enjoyed.

     
  • Michael P Olson

    Wow. Beautiful. Poignant. Real. thank you

     
  • Julie

    Thank you so much, DyAnn. And isn’t Emily Winfield Martin a dreamy artist?? xxoo

     
  • DyAnn

    Beautiful expression of “real” life! I LOVE the illustrations. Love you Julie!

     
  • Julie

    Thank you so much, Jane. That is so kind of you. <3

     
  • Jane Johnson

    Well put Julie. Deepest sympathy to your friend and to you and your family for losing your friend.

     

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