A letter to the young (and old) in my life who are suffering heartbreak


 Dear Children,

I’ve been watching all of you, the young adults in my life, puzzle out your relationships, remembering how hard it is sometimes, especially when you are young, to make sense of how we fit with somebody else, what to look for, what to avoid. In such a cynical age, it’s some times hard to believe in soul mates, in partnerships that go the distance, in a love that lasts through the decades.

I still believe.

Near the Sand Dunes National Park there flows a stream. During the spring, it’s wild and profuse, washing through the dry sand on either side in a torrent that seems miraculous. The rest of the year, it still flows, but you can’t see it unless you step on the stream bed. A footprint brings little pools of water in the dry sand–five tiny ponds of toeprints, a larger pool of a heel; if one stands there long enough, a rippling eddy of water comes out of the ground, cold and pure, to circle an ankle.

It’s always there, that river. It’s fed by snowmelt poured down through the winter months, and then by aquifers through the summer. Most people who visit during the off-times don’t even know it exists.

The coyotes come to path of the underground water and know to put their feet in it, to bring the water to the surface so they can drink. It’s the secret of their survival in this landscape. It’s the only water they can find for miles and miles and miles.

The spirit of love is like that hidden river. It exists always, sometimes flowing wildly, visibly, but sometimes going underground where it sometimes needs the simple work of putting a foot or a toe into it to bring it to the surface, or the soft, quiet work of a steady standing to reappear so it can ripple around an ankle.

Like that river, there are seasons to love. The rushing spring of infatuation, of sweet brilliance and an ease of connection, that stretch of time when you discover there is someone in the world who sees you, as you are, and accepts it. Then comes summer, steady and warm, when you build and learn, and the river runs freely, though not always so close to the surface.

Then autumn, when there is often a harvest, but often a slowing, too, a period of less rush and bustle. Then winter, when the rush is all but frozen, when the quiet stillness urges us to hibernate, take time to look within, rest with each other. And then the spring, the rush, the silvery flow of love over the sand, visible for all.

Have faith that there is a partner for you, and have faith that love can last. Sometimes, a love seems promising, and it falls apart, and that’s very difficult, but don’t let briars grow up around your heart. Stay open, continue to give, and your faith will be rewarded.


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