My heart has been hurting today. A lot.
It started in the morning as the twinge in the nose and progressed to a dull thud behind the breastbone by this afternoon. As usual, the hurt was internal. No one came at me with a dagger or intentionally tried to bruise me. My heart was just overwhelmed with seemingly innocuous things that really turned out to be little poisonous darts, each a minor annoyance, but collectively fatal: Mother’s Day ads. More Mother’s Day ads. Participating in the dangerous game of comparing oneself to other infertiles, and pretty much everytime coming up short (meaning, still not pregnant). Reading email from best friend with a near one-year old and trying to decipher whether we have entered into the game of one upsmanship. Receiving drugs for the next cycle and being reminded – again – at what I must do to get pregnant that many others do not. Remembering the joy of those moments when I was pregnant and genuinely believed that it was going to work, that we had finally defeated the monster.
In other words, it was a bad day.
So, I took my hurting heart and went to the most peaceful place that I know of, my backporch, and stretched out on a chair. I listened to the birds and the wind. I tried pleading with my heart to stop hurting, telling it that we are so lucky to have what we do. But, my heart was being churlish and refused to stop hurting. “I don’t hurt less because everything else in life is rosy,” it said.
I knew I needed something or someone more compelling. I decided to summon Mr. X. Never mind that he’s working and doesn’t know that I am summoning him in my mind. I closed my eyes and called across the miles to him. The door to the porch closed, I stretched out my hand and there he was sitting next to me, holding my hand.
“What’s the matter, my love?”, he said.
“My heart hurts, ” I said.
“Why does it hurt?”, he asked.
“Because it is afraid that it will never have that special joy of knowing that your dreams are finally coming true. It sees others finding this joy and it wants to know when it will be its turn.”
“Ah, I understand why that would hurt. Can I have your heart for a moment?”
I reached inside and gave him my poor, shriveled damaged little heart. I watched as he cupped it in his hands like water and began to speak to it: “There is no reason to hurt, little one. This joy that you seek is not the only joy in the world. You can still seek this joy, but this can’t be the only joy that you seek or you will continue to hurt. You know this. I love you, little heart. No matter what happens or doesn’t happen, I love you and will love you.”
My hurt began to ease as I felt his love and as I realized that I can be happy without this joy, even if I still seek it. I took my heart back and tucked it safely away. I promised to take better care of it, to be kind to it and to try to shield it from those things that hurts it the most.
And for now, my heart has stopped hurting.