We Are Just Passing Through


“Like sunlight, sunset, we appear, we disappear. We are so important to some, but we are just passing through.”
Before Midnight

When you are going through a very deep heartbreak, cliches such as, ‘You are deserve more than him,’ or ‘Things will get better’ can seem empty of any meaning, and as sincere as the person saying them may be, those words fall on deaf ears.

This could not have been truer for me. I had a good chat with two good friends recently, and even though they told me that that things won’t be like this forever, my heart still felt very heavy as it had been for a long time.

As I lay in bed that night, I replayed everything they told me in my head, and I felt anything but peace.
I was angry that even though I was so careful not to let the walls around my heart down too fast, I was still the one who ended up getting hurt the most.
I was frustrated that while I was here, still hopelessly in love and trying without any success to get over the breakup, he had moved on with his life in great strides. In my head, I was screaming repeatedly that I didn’t want to be where I was.
I was tired because I had done everything that anything had told me to do help me get over a breakup. There were the trivial things: I stayed in bed watching movies with a plastic bag full of chocolate for a few days; I wore nothing but my pajamas for a short while; I went on a crazy exercise and healthy eating plan for a month; I did a lot of drinking and clubbing; I dated, dated, and dated some more to no avail; and I dyed my jet black hair blonde.
Then there were more helpful and productive things: I wrote in my journal and blogged all my feelings out; I took a good, long holiday; I took every opportunity to laugh; I surrounded myself with positive friends who did nothing but encourage me and make me smile; and one time I even took off all my clothes, jumped into the ocean at 4am in the morning and swum and swum (and by the way, that moment was the happiest I had felt in a long time!) And yet, here I was, one step forward but three steps back it seemed. Why did I still feel depressed? Why did I still feel so low and dark inside despite all my efforts to move on?

I then remembered a movie I had watched a couple of weeks earlier called Before Midnight. The thing about this movie is that it paints a realistic picture of love that said: learning to love someone and be loved back is an imperfect process. As you go forward in your relationship with someone, there will be complications and needs, and how you work them out is totally yours to decorate. Not all people view love the same. It comes in so many sizes, colors and shapes that to pin it down would be like trying to pin down a rainbow to one color. As a group of people were exploring this variety of love during dinner in the film, an older lady who had been listening quietly before had this to say about the topic: ‘Like sunlight, sunset, we appear, we disappear. We are so important to some, but we are just passing through.’ We are just passing through. As I lay reflecting this quote in my bed, I finally felt peace.

Frankly, I have no idea why this five word sentence gave me a sense of calm that two years of cliches and ‘breakup remedies’ never really did. I like to think it was because it reminded me that life is such a beautiful, fleeting, whisper of a thing. To me, it means we are all walking on a road called life, and it is full of utter beauty, but also deep pain. The wonder, the joys, the little moments of happiness which make your life worth living can sometimes be equally balanced with depression, hardship and sadness. But knowing that we all are all just passing through life onto our real home is what makes it all okay.

Your darkness may be pitch black, your heavy burdens may be crushing, your pain may be wounding and your tears may be ocean deep.
Your darkness is fleeting. Your heavy burdens are fading. Your pain is a sigh of the wind. Your tears are whispers.
Because, along with our sadness and our joys, we are just passing through.

Acknowledge those dark feelings. Tell them that they are real and they are there. But, also tell them that you won’t be seeing them on the other side. And because your pain is temporary, just as your life is, make the most of it by enjoying the little, simple pleasures in life that makes your life worth living.

This means doing anything that not only makes you glad you alive, but makes you come alive.
Surround yourself with family and friends who make you laugh until the tears roll down your cheeks.
Get up early enough to watch the sunrise.
Go to the beach and watch the sunset.
Explore barefoot.
Skinny dip with your girlfriends at a ridiculous time of night, simply because you can.
Lay under the stars with a blanket and let your eyes soak in the wonder of the night sky.
Write love letters to your loved ones, telling them how wonderful you think they are and how much you love them. By investing your love in them, you invest in life itself.
Scream like Tarzan while you’re on a rope swing.
Light candles and take a long bath.
Jump on your bed with your girlfriends until you are all out of breath from laughter.
And dance, even though you may be an awkward, flailing mess.

Where there is pain, there is an opportunity for healing. I believe that healing can only come if you allow it to. Acknowledge that you are just passing through life. Breathe out the past. Breathe in the future. Let it sink in just how fleeting life is, like a dandelion in the wind. In light of this, make it your goal to make life as beautiful as you possibly can, not for anyone else, but for you. Your pain is so real, but I believe that it will not always be like this. Hope in that beautiful truth that, as you embrace life and choose to see it’s beauty instead of it’s disappointments, you will find healing when you finally arrive home.

“It doesn’t matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.”


Image via Marlena Steiner