He told me it wasn’t my job to worry about him, but I’d long ago decided that I am my brother’s keeper.
She told me it’s okay to be friends as long as I don’t get emotionally attached, and I ask myself how that’s possible.
There’s a reason my mama named me “Devoted.”
And it’s not so I could offer my friends half-hearted affection.
Let’s pretend, shall we? Let’s pretend to care about each other until the going gets tough and we backpedal through our promises in the name of Self-Preservation.
Self-Preservation. I hate her. If Tragedy walking down the hall makes me cringe, Self-Preservation makes me grit my teeth, clench my fists, and say a prayer that I refrain from slapping her phony smile right off her face.
Because Tragedy may hurt, but she draws people together in a way that comforts and heals. At least, until Self-Preservation walks in. “It’s not your fight,” she says. “It’s messy and dirty and uncomfortable here. Let’s just walk away. Let’s just walk away before all of this becomes too much for this heart to handle.”
And we think we’re doing the right thing, listening to her. It’s the best thing for us, we reason. Because who wants to be burdened with all that heartache and despair?
So we plug our ears and walk away, hoping to forget the cries of the world.
But baby, baby, I hear you.
I hear the way your heart splinters into a thousand pieces.
Self-Preservation doesn’t care. She’s not going to rock you and hold you and wipe away your tears. Instead, she’ll tell you to get up and keep going and forget about this mess. And, yes, there’s a time for packing up and moving on, but you’ve got to pick up the pieces first.
Give yourself time to pick up all the pieces.
We wouldn’t want any fragments of you lost down this road.
Tragedy ripped through your world like a whirlwind, and, baby, it hurt like nobody’s business, but you’re going to be okay.
Yes, you’ll be just fine as long as you’re not looking to be preserved. Because maybe you weren’t meant to maintain your original or existing shape. Maybe you were meant to change with the seasons. Maybe you were meant to be remade and redefined.
Self-Preservation doesn’t encourage that in you. Self-Preservation tries to cling to the things that were. But, baby, those things simply aren’t anymore. There’s nothing you can do about that. I’m sorry if that’s not the way you wanted it, but, sweetheart, that’s the way it is. And that’s okay.
Change is a good thing, honest. Change is a requirement of growth. And trust you me, there is nothing more tragic than when a being stops growing. Stops becoming everything it was meant to become.
A friend told me that the enemy traps women through their emotions, but I think he traps us through our lack of emotions, too. And I believe the latter trap is far more deadly than the first.
So I said goodbye to Self-Preservation and made Sorrow and Heartache my friends. And maybe it’s morbid to say I love the way they make me feel, but I do. I do because they make me feel where Self-Preservation offered nothing but numbness.
But God is good and life is beautiful and pain is not all I feel.
Oh no, pain is a mere side effect of love. And love is so much bigger than pain. Love makes all the pain worth it.
So I don’t care. I don’t care if it defies the laws of self-preservation; I’m always going to love you this big.
Because you’re worth it.
Every single moment of loving you is worth it. In both the good times and the bad.
And maybe it’s true that you’ll only break my heart. Everyone tells me I shouldn’t be okay with that, but, darling, I am. I’m okay to be ripped apart, shredded open, and ravaged to pieces by you.
Because I think someone should care that much. And I think someone should love you that deeply. And I’ve never been good at giving anything less than everything.
So maybe it’s my own form of self-preservation—to love you with all that I am.
(So go ahead and rip my heart apart. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me how you’re really doing. I want to know your story, I’m willing to enter your tragedy, and I promise to send a little love your way in response.)