I know because my heart strings got tugged on and all the emotions that had been stored within fell out onto a pile.
A pile that resembled a large entangled assortment of small toys scooped out from under a child's bed mixed in with dirty laundry.
It was neither a pleasant nor discernible sight.
Yet there it was at my feet; on the floor in front of me.
I wanted to just walk away (or run) but that's pretty hard to do when part of your vital organ (my heart) is dislodged from within.
Stunned and overwhelmed, I wondered, where do I start?!
I sat down beside it, staring, exasperated at the feat that lay ahead.
Something I hoped someone else could clean up, and yet internally, I knew would not be possible.
For only I would know where each piece belonged that I would be individually extricating from the heap.
Only I would know the where or why each piece originated.
What each piece represented.
Only I could understand and experience the feelings affiliated with each piece.
Only I could close up and tie my heart back together.
And in turn, restore it to a functioning state again.
So I sat there alone, as tears rolled down my face and said:
This one, goes in the pile for my youngest son who graduated and moved away.
This one, in the broken-hearted pile of lost love.
This one, will go into the loneliness pile.
And this one, in the lost dreams pile.
This one... in the pile with the loss of a job and throw in loss of esteem while you're at it.
This one, for truth-that-hurts pile.
This one, for selfish doings by others not understood.
This one, for children's aching hearts that even a mother can not mend.
And this one, for feelings of confusion and exhaustion from life's trials.
Do you understand now why it's best not to tug on my heart strings?
Because you can not really separate the immense love that compiles that same heart from the pains it contains.
The love is the house, much like the oyster is for the pearl, which is what transforms pain into appreciation.
Appreciation for having the desire and ability to take a chance at caring and loving.
Over and over again, knowing the risk you are taking.
It is the shell that encompasses life's greatest blessings and life's sorrows.
...That, of experiencing love, no matter how short, which means sorrow will come at its loss.
But something unexpected happened.
As I started sorting through each piece, the memory of a heart filled with love accompanied each loss.
And I was reminded of sweet, often happy, special memories, one by one which had built up to the loss as I picked up each piece and examined it.
I became less aware of the pain as peace started to slowly settle in and comfort me.
And I now sensed and felt that I was no longer sitting there alone going through this.
I knew that the love I had for God, and the love that He had instilled in me and had for me, had made the yearning I so deeply have in my heart possible; because as a mere human I would be too callused after repeated losses.
I knew that He had made the challenge to love, alive.
That no matter how many times I have been disappointed and hurt, I still had hope.
I still want and believe in "happily ever after".
And I knew that it had helped me desire good and continue to search for heartwarming joy in my life.
And in that enlightened knowledge I understood as I sat there, at a deeper level, that heart strings are for all that life offers, both tender, beautiful moments as well as heart wrenching ones that get stored together.
And that that all encompassing emotion called love, made it worth every tug I felt.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. ~Kahlil Gibran