It's just too much, he said. He sipped his margarita ruefully. He was smiling, though. There was a smile stuck on his face. But there was a deep sadness in his eyes. The sadness only another heart-broken person could ever recognize. There's something very heavy in their irises, and their pupils have tears hiding deep within their deaths. They look so very, very tired. But the whites of their eyes burn with the fire of restless hearts and sleepless nights.
Sympathetically, I sipped my own margarita in time to his melancholy. With each sip, I wished that cocktail could have been infused with Alice's magic potion. With each drop, I would dwindle down into a microscopic version of myself, until I could climb through all the ventricles of his heart.
In each chamber, I would pick up all the broken pieces, and say: oh I know this one. And yes, I know this, too. I know this very well indeed.
My friend, I understand this, too.
This being broken from loving far too much.
Heartbreak is such a glorious disaster. And human beings can never be immune to it. We are always falling right into it.
Heartbreak is an ailment that plagues us, but is also a tonic to so many of our faults.
We are not invincible.
And once heart-broken, you are never happy on your own again. For you remember how delightful it is to life and love with another person. And no amount of heartbreak will ever prevent you from desiring to live your life through the light of another.
That is the gift that heartbreak brings. It can rip you out of the complacency of self.
Either that, or lock you up in prison, your goalkeeper your own bitterness.
But there was nothing bitter in his smile. His smile was strangely joyful.
How we can be joyful in the midst of sorrow is the strangest of the world's many mysteries.
You'll love this, he said.
He sipped his milkshake gleefully. There was a twinkle in his eye.
He has grown a beard, but more importantly than that, he has grown a great amount of wisdom.
Most of it hidden beneath the surface, beyond human sight.
My friend told me the most wonderful story.
It was about how he decided to choose the date of his Marian consecration. (I recently described myself in a professional setting as "painfully Catholic." ecce.)
And he chose it, obviously, because someone told him not to. And, of course, being perhaps even more stubborn than I am, he instantly knew that it--of course--was that day of all days that must be his.
Such a small and seemingly inconsequential decision. And yet, when he was celebrating the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows with the Congregation of Holy Cross, of which he is a member, and she their patroness, such a small decision as to choose September 15th as his Marian consecration feast seems more significant,
And in these stories there is such hope: such hope that God works with all our foibles in writing the story of Creation.
His stubbornness, my overweening ambition, her insatiable eros, all these will somehow become avenues of grace. So we can say: O happy fault--to be a broken, stubborn sinner becomes a great gift and grace.