I cannot say what to do for sure,
but when joy in any form comes, welcome it.
The pink on the tree, the laughter of your brother, the afternoon bath, the Billie Holiday song that is most needed, clean hair, clean sheets, having someone (somewhere) who makes you giggle while trying to be as quiet as possible to keep it precious and twinkling, a wish.
Keep some secret joy just for you. Like a butterfly resting in your room awaiting your return, call forth the colors of her wings and smile remembering her flying lazily around waiting there for you. The room, of course, is your heart. The butterfly, of course, is love.
Do not under-estimate the power of ice cream with rainbow sprinkles, the friend from long ago who understands where you’ve come from, the newness of a shiny penny, library books, Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall album, a phone call that skips the small talk, a promise as fragile as a cut-glass vase.
Reach out in anger and sorrow and the universe will reach back. It may not be in the way you think, the reaching may feel like more work than it’s worth. It isn’t. And you aren’t wrong to be heartbroken and ruined within yourself. You are furtile ground still though all is charred, much can grow in you if you keep action; however small, part of yourself.
The ferns will regrow at the base of new trees. There will be re-birth, it may not seem so. It may seem like years of death and nothingness but then, suddenly a sprout of green takes hold.
You will feel your heart again, it will be stronger and tougher than last you checked. Delicacy can never return but what will return will be better because it will be vulnerable. Vulnerability is a choice, a verb, a constant state of moving towards.
Gather the radiance, where you can find it, where you can feel it. Welcome the creatures of light back to your table.
Say: “I have been away, glowing where you could not see, but I did not leave for good.”
And they will nod and smile, bear their teeth in knowing. It is not all beautiful at the table of love. We all bring damage and scars. But tonight- perhaps if only for a moment-we can lay our hurt down at the alter, and not forget, no, but remember without holding.
Your heart is expansive. Growl and whimper, thrash, moan, whine, grieve. Become saturated in the ash of what you were. The fire burned it all, even still, hope takes seed. Even still, the gate will stay open if you are brave enough.
If you let the foxes cry out when they must cry out, and let the owl watch, sentinel and strong for you while you are away from your own forest. The deer, quick and ready as a dancer in the wings; there to spring forward into the fresh rain of relief. Let the robins come to nest.
You will return home. The light of your heart will be on, as gentle as always on the porch. Not all songs of pain are songs of sorrow, sometimes what you hear is triumph in the notes. Triumph does not always sound soothing. Notice the difference and then come tell me all about it, and I will tell you the things too.
What I know is not so much. It is small, but it is mighty. My palms cupped with water from the clean, cool river so you may drink when thirsty. All I have is made of where I have been and I do not fear so much when the wolves return to howling.
I welcome it.