I have never felt like I belong, or that I am where I am meant to be. Never. When I was a kid, I often sat contemplating, dreaming and imagining what existed beyond the desolate fields of the prairie town in which I lived. Beyond captured my imagination and grabbed hold of my soul, and as though it knew what I needed, it was always whispering, calling. In stillness and chaos, I could hear it. Silently I carried those whispers like fuel and found solace in the step I knew I would one day take. Even then, I understood that I was destined to harbour an ache and long for the unknown, but for reasons, I couldn’t quite understand. I just knew that Beyond offered something necessary and that listening was vital to my well-being – it was what would save me.
The ache of profound sorrow that resides inside of me when I am still is indescribable. In normalcy, most people find comfort; I do not. I long to feed my soul excerpts of beauty, made possible only because I dared to step to the other side of caution and risk it all. My dream has always been to make impossible, possible.
Working just to amass security for a future not guaranteed scares me more than death – upon retirement is not when I wish to be issued my licence to live. For years, though, my day-to-day consisted of preparations for precisely that. Blindly living, void of purpose – carrying wishes in one hand and failure in the other, was my normal. When I would look towards the horizon, Beyond would glance over, hold my stare, plead with me, and then regrettably turn away. I had given up on myself, and so had it.
The ache intensified and I could no longer see past the relentless pulse of regret. I was merely existing, imprisoned in a world not meant for me, unable to escape. Each breath was a painful reminder of the life I hadn’t dared reach for and the one smothering my soul.
Then, in a twist of fate, two fronts collided and formed a storm so perfect, it forever changed my life and taught me the lessons I desperately needed.
I learned that, without notice, ‘goodbye’ can become forever. That ‘see you later’ is an expectation, not a guarantee. That no matter how hard you wish, the seat beside you will never again hold the soul of the one lost. I learned that people don’t always come back. He didn’t.
I learned that there is beauty in devastating heartbreak. That to love someone to the point of despair is a gift. That there is so much to gain if you just find the courage to step through the pain. That to love so deeply is my strength and my power. I learned that if pain changes you, it was worth it. She was.
So, with the understanding that life is fragile and merely a fleeting moment, I began to pull myself from the abyss of all-consuming darkness and started looking up. Every day I remembered the forever goodbye I hadn’t anticipated and used it as motivation to go after what I had long desired. He had dared, and it cost him, but regret isn’t found in daring to live, it’s found in not.
Understanding that even in the darkest of places I still had an obligation to myself changed everything. I was alive. He wasn’t.
So, instead of surrendering to the pain, I accepted how gravely my heart hurt, faced it and rebuilt myself on a foundation of appreciation, strength and purpose. Even in pain, there is meaning, and I understood the reason for mine. Piece by piece I put myself back together and became a person I could be proud of. As much as I loved her, I began to love myself.
That storm, that horrible storm, is one I refuse to let go. Forever I will hold on, not to dwell, but because I never want to relinquish my strength, forget the value of a single breath or the significance of time.
Tragedy and heartbreak inspired my words to meet paper and my dreams to meet possibility. That little girl who was long lost came back, and she now stands on the shore looking towards the horizon with renewed hope. She has her arm out and is daring to reach with no regard for consequence. To feel whole, she must not only reach but step.
Understand, that one day, while you are sitting down to dinner with your family, or are safe in the arms of the ones you love, I will be out there, far away, touching something unfamiliar, and my soul will be on fire. I will be happy. And I will be where I belong.
As I sit typing this post, I feel the ache. It’s always there. Accompanying it now, though, are familiar whispers. Above all the voices and noises around me, I can hear them, and they are louder than they have ever been.
Beyond is calling and beyond is where I must go.
There simply is no time to wait.