Monday, June 29, 2009

Fire Heals Quicker Than Time

Heartbreak is rough.

Lump in your throat. Pain in your chest--sometimes ribs. Exhaustion. Weight gain from the gallons of ice cream consumed. Puffy eyes from salty tears. Wet pillow from crying yourself to sleep. The list of side effects runs longer than some cheap anti-depressant, and it only gets worse the more you allow yourself to sit in silence.

But, as my friend has realized, nothing heals the pain of a heartbreak quite as fast and as effectively as burning her ex-boyfriends' possessions.

(Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.)

Despite it being 85-degrees on this summer night, at exactly midnight, she gathered everything he gave her, everything she planned on giving him, and she wrote his name a thousand times on several sheets of paper. After finding matches she went outside and let it all burn by the pool. His smell dissipating in the air and being consumed by the oxygen-hogging phenomenon. The flames turned purple and her eyes softened. For that moment, at least, she was not thinking about how she wasted almost an entire year on someone who actually told her he did not care about her. For that moment, she was just focusing on the flashy warmth in front of her. His name crusting and turning to ash in its grasp.

It reminded me of a bonfire I attended once--not the one with my church recently, but one a year or so ago. Everyone in the large group stood around the fire pit and was told to write a secret down on a small sheet of paper. The secret could be something small, but the youth leader was hoping that you would write a profound secret; one that ate away at you from day-to-day. We all did as we were told and threw the secret into the fire and watched it burn. I felt as though a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I did not have to carry it around with me anymore. It was over.

Fire has the incredible knack of healing quicker than time. Eventually, feelings will flood back to her, as they did while we talked this morning, but for the time being, she is feeling better. And the fact that she actually burned some things that he probably will want back when he remembers she has them gave her a small feeling of triumph. A small triumph which overpowered her previous glee of having the last word and then hanging up on him.

She will be fine. As she is finding out, heartbreak is just a part of life. No one wants it, but everyone eventually experiences it. One day she will find the one that is truly worth her time. I made sure to remind her she is too young to worry with finding Mr. Right; he will find her, and he will do so at the appropriate time and place.


  1. My daughter just broke up with her boyfriend of 2 years I will pass this along to her.


  2. Haha, cool, Anne. Sounds like a plan. Tell her I'm sorry that happened to her.


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