Photo of woman hugging heart
March 21, 2023

Our hearts can hold so much

what is stronger
than the human heart
which shatters over and over
and still lives. —rupi kaur

By Sherrie Frank

A few weeks ago, I sat at the feet of two of my dearest friends. Both have been navigating situations wrought with pain, loss, and hardship. Both are strong and know how to do hard things. They have shown up to care for people they love. And, while doing so, their worlds have gotten smaller. Dreaming has been put on hold and plans canceled. It’s one day at a time for now. This is not the life they expected, and even though it is hard, they have stepped into it wholeheartedly. They are not perfect, and if you asked them how they’re doing, they’d tell you they could be doing better or share with you a story where they lost patience or didn’t measure up to the standards they’re holding inside them. My version of their story is that these are good people, playing the cards they’ve been dealt and being true to who they aspire to be, and I admire them so much.

Sometimes we worry about bad things happening to us — or worse, to someone we love — and we think thoughts like, “I could never endure that, or handle that, or I’d rather die than be that.” Sometimes, we try not to think at all and live as if we alone have a lifetime guarantee. We imagine it will always be the other family or the other guy who gets the news. Both worry and avoidance are strategies we use to manage our fear that we cannot survive loss, tragedy, or pain. And yet, there is so much evidence out there that shows that when the moment arrives, so do our courage, resilience, and strong hearts. It seems we are always capable of handling more than we allow ourselves to imagine.

I remember long ago listening to National Public Radio and hearing a story of a family living in Sarajevo during the war. What struck me was, amid daily sniper fire, food shortages, and bombings, their lives kept moving forward. They were falling in love, making babies, and sharing meals and laughter. Their stories gave me hope, and now when I fear the world is on the brink of collapse or I can’t endure the pain of loss, I remember life does go on and our hearts can survive the unimaginable.

I don’t know why some lives suffer more than others. I do know there is no life that goes untouched by sadness and emotional pain. Loving this world is the bravest choice we will ever make. It is brave because even as we allow ourselves to fall in love, we know one day we will leave all we’ve loved behind. There is no other destination for life other than death, but until that moment comes, there is our life to be lived.

So today, let’s explore the depths of our own strong hearts and let them show us how to hold the entirety of our life bravely within.

Be well,

Xo, s

Leave a Reply

  1. As always Sherrie, you always seem to know the right things to say. I so appreciate you reminding all of us how wonderful we are.

  2. Oh my gosh, when I opened to read the newsletter and saw this and started reading, this is my story right now. Not wanted, never expected, and here I am wholeheartedly embracing everyday since my daughter was diagnosed in Jan with a very rare, aggresive and no cure brain cancer. My life, world and everything I know has changed in a moment my heart has been shattered and i’m trying to pick up the pieces and keep moving moment to moment forward as I support and love her and her wife through this. I am living up here with them right now to help and take in every second I can of this precious girls life and help care for her. All we have is this moment, I am letting my heart feel it all even though some days I feel it is impossible to take just one more thing. And as you said, we can do more than we think we can. That message was so timely. I could barely catch my breath reading it. Thank you.

    1. Dearest Nancy… my heart goes out to you and your daughter. If I were to find myself on such a journey as your daughter, it would be my strong loving mama I would want walking me home. May you find peace and courage in each other. Thank you for sharing your story.