My heart is a big wheel of Swiss cheese. It has large holes representing traumas from life events that have felt as harsh as death itself. As devastating as gun shot wounds, these holes have scarred me forever. Deaths – suicides – divorce – broken relationships – my failures – my mistakes and one hole after another. The smaller holes in this wheel of Swiss cheese come from lost opportunities – lost friendships – my disappointments – those I have disappointed – grief which can’t be shared, and more. The unhappy parts of our past cannot be changed. We all carry our pain alone. Hurt and pain may never heal in time, but will rerun in our memories forever. Why we must all die a bit before we grow again, I do not know.
There have been times in my life that I have been knocked down. Like a boxer who has been knocked out, I was down and not able to get up after the referee had counted to ten. Eventually, somehow, somewhere within the depths of my being I would climb back up to face the world and to continue for another day. You may have found a way to continue, be it a religion, a 12 step program which takes one day at a time, or some other method. There were times I did not feel that I wanted to make it to the next day. I was holding onto the ledge of this cliff by my finger tips. If I fell it would be into a deep depression. Somehow I had to learn to let go. To let go is not to regret the past, but to grow and to live for the future. Live for what? You see, hearts that look like big wheels of Swiss cheese accumulate knowledge, experience and the ability to see others who are also in pain. The burden and how we react to it is handled in our own way. I was able to heal some of my own wounds by helping others who are having a difficult time handling their wounds and were trying to heal. To touch someone in need. To give love to those who surround me. Without someone to care for, I could not just live for me. I had to have a goal. Understanding others gave me something to strive for and focus on, other than me. Thinking of others gave me a chance to heal. I realize now I’m not the only person in the world who has pain and is trying to survive. It is how we use our pain to motivate us to give happiness to others that will help heal ourselves. Thus, if you want happiness you must give happiness. If you want love you must give love. What I have learned in my struggle of surviving life’s tests is, doesn’t everyone have a heart of Swiss cheese?