I believe there is a garden in our heart where some part of everyone we’ve ever loved takes root. And no matter what happens in the world of circumstance, we continue to love them in that interior garden. We may lose someone to death, betrayal, mistrust, or cowardice. We may find that we fail each other, or discover that, love each other as we might, being together is toxic. Or we may be torn apart by world events—wars, injustice, or natural disasters. Yet we never stop loving them, not a one. And so, they live in the garden in our heart, waiting for us to visit them in our dreams and to summon their better angels in the still moments that we earn.
Recognizing this inner garden has changed how I react to the pangs of loss. When I miss someone who has turned hurtful or cruel, it doesn’t mean I need to resurrect the relationship. That I still love them doesn’t mean I have to undo my resolve and find a way to see them. More deeply, feeling my love for those who are absent means I need to go inward and spend time harvesting the lessons of how we came to love each other and how we came to hurt each other. Feeling their presence doesn’t mean I need to go back, but rather that I need to go forward, allowing the love I feel to evolve beyond the trials of our actual relationship.