So much love your heart can’t hold it

From my journal dated August 12, 2002:

I got a note from W.P.* today…it was the most honest thing I’ve had said to me in a while. She said something along the she doesn’t know what to say to me…and that she’s chicken. Her son, who was a friend of Jason’s, is going away to college, and she said she finds herself grieving for him even though he’s okay and coming back…and that it must be just a fraction of the grief I feel. She said something, too, about the special relationship between a mother and son. I believe that’s true. All I know is that Jason filled a huge place in my heart. He brought me so much joy from the minute he was born!

It has always amazed me that it’s possible to have the feeling of so much love in your heart – so much that it’s like your heart isn’t big enough to hold all of it. That’s the feeling I’ve had for my family – for Joe, for Eric, for Jason, for Jenna. My heart could hardly hold how much I love them…so much pride, so much happiness that they were in my life.

I remember watching Joe play football in the backyard with the kids when they were little. I felt so much love for my family I just had to call tell someone and express it. I called Joe’s mom, telling her how thankful I was to be married to her son. I thanked her for doing such a good job at raising such a wonderful man, that he was such a good dad, a good husband.

Our hearts are really amazing things. One one hand, our hearts can be so full of love we don’t think there is any way to hold it all. We feel like they’re about to explode with love, happiness, pride, beauty, all the good things. It’s almost like there’s no way to express such happy, strong emotions. We feel like we’re walking on air, “over the moon.”

On the other hand, our hearts can be so crushed we don’t know how we can survive or continue to live. They can feel so hurt, depleted, crushed. It doesn’t seem like there’s any way to recover or express the deep pain.

Such extremes. I think most of life is lived in the middle with periodic highs and lows. I don’t think anyone could permanently live at one end of the spectrum or the other. Maybe some people generally live a little above the “norm” and some a little below the “norm,” but maybe that’s what we all try to achieve…balancing the good with the bad. It feels like that “heart so full of good things” is far away right now. I’m on the other end of the spectrum, trying to figure out how to get back toward a new “norm.”