Did you not know that at the edge
Of a deep valley there is an excellent
Growing up straight in spite of the
Many years of cold?
– Keizan Zenji
I know those many years of cold. I know that deep, sunless valley. I am that most excellent pine tree, growing straight to the light with my roots buried in the cold, rocky edge.
I have a broken heart. I have pain borne of a pure, unmuddled grief and yet I still have my light. I have my happy children and my dear and loving friends. I have my little house to help me feel safe in this hard world. I have less conflict with my family and stronger boundaries and an easier, lighter relationship with them. I have all this that is so very good. And I have my broken heart.
I know that suffering with this is my choice. I chose to become attached to someone with deep love. It was very good. It was the greatest love I have experienced. It was the happiest I have ever been with another human being, for a time. I am grateful. I never knew it could be that way. I never knew that kind of feeling and loving was real. Now it is gone away from me and has left a void. But, I am not unwhole.
This all feels so “I” heavy. But the other side is not mine to tell. I am not in the dark valley. I am not lost in the cold. I was there, a long time, a not so long time ago, and now I stand at the edge, a tall pine reaching for the light, a beacon for others to follow.