Heartache is no stranger. He moves in and out of my bedroom with the ease and familiarity of an old lover. He flops down on my bed side-ways, arms and legs akimbo. His tossing and turning keep me awake at night. He puts his feet up on the furniture, throws wet towels on the bathroom floor and eats the last bear claw.
Heartache shows up with no warning, slipping in while I’m distracted watching moonbeams or counting stars.
He casts shadows under my eyes and a crinkle between my brows.
He sneaks out at night like a naughty teenager, coasting down the street before revving his engine. He has other hearts to visit, more ache to spread. Heartache never promised monogamy or commitment. He’s probably even visited you once or twice.
When he comes calling like an unwelcome suitor, I follow Nat King Cole’s advice and smile, though my heart is aching. Smile, even though it’s breaking. Clouds be damned, I’m going to keep on trying. And smiling. Until I remember that life’s still worthwhile.
When Heartache asks how I am, my answer is always the same. Smile firmly in place, I tell him, “Awesome. I am awesome.”
It’s an easy answer to proclaim, because it’s true. I am awesome. My blessings overflow. My heart beats on, spreading love where it’s needed most. To my children, Sweetness and the Genius. To the bonus children life gave me to love, and even to one beautiful bonus granddaughter. To my family and friends.
Heartache cracked me. He left fissures on the surface of my heart. But he can’t break me. Won’t defeat me.
Heartache can never win, will never win, because I will never quit smiling. I will never quit trying. I can’t quit even if I want to because my friends and family won’t let me. They remind me to tell my better sounding story. They make me laugh until I cry.
They make me smile.
Smile though your heart is aching, smile even though it’s breaking.
Light up your face with gladness, hide every trace of sadness.
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile.
Question: What do you do when Heartache comes to visit? Do you welcome him with open arms or warm his cold heart with your brightest smile?
Note: Lyrics are from the Nat King Cole song “Smile” which was written by Josh Turner and Geoffrey Parsons.