“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself that you tasted as many as you could.” Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum
“. . . and they lived happily ever after.” We all wish that our lives would be characterized by these familiar words from so many fairy tales. We all desire happiness and continual peace and harmony in our lives and relationships. But the real world is often so different that what we desire. In the end, it’s far more like the passage above from Louise Erdrich, “Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that. . .” And yet, life goes on, and we must go on with it with the choice to either embrace life with its joys and sorrows, or to wall ourselves off in a frustrated attempt to protect ourselves from pain and suffering.
There is much wisdom in Erdrich’s words. Life is to be lived, with all its trials and emotions. There will surely be pain and risk and loss, but there will just as surely be sweetness if we are present to taste it. For it is the contrasts in life that bring forth the greatest joys, the greatest happiness, the greatest sweetness. Only one who has experienced bitterness and loss can really appreciate love and acceptance and joy.
Embrace your life today. Ask for support if you need to; we are not designed to go it alone. And don’t choose to abandon life for protective walls that only serve to isolate you from all you desire.