by | Feb 7, 2024

I recently read heartbreak defined as ‘the natural result of opening our hearts to people and things over which we have no control.’

In January I spent a week in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, at a beautiful resort where a dear friend invited me to celebrate my 60th year. The place was all breathtaking beauty and pristine beaches and brown pelicans diving and whales, breaching.

I met a man whose wrinkled face, broad nose and kind eyes reminded me of my father. We interacted every day, him walking up and down the beach in the blazing sun and me, seated in my chair in the shade; the height of privilege. Eventually Claudio introduced me to his wife, Kati, who sold me a beautiful turquoise scarf. From Claudio’s case I purchased a silver rose ring, one with a Larimar stone, and a sweet bracelet featuring Our Lady of Guadalupe.

In a place like Cabo paying full price feels like an act of rebellion, though I’m sure my purchases amounted to very small drops in their very empty buckets. Which is why I gave Claudio my remaining cash on our last day. Not as a kindness, per se, but as an acknowledgment of the incredible disparity that shapes their lives.

As we were leaving I hesitantly asked Claudio for a photo, which he graciously obliged after removing his hat and smoothing his hair. As I turned to go he said, “thank you, my sister,” words I received as the kindest I had ever heard. They were also the first English words I had heard him speak.

I think it was CS Lewis who wrote, to love is to be vulnerable. Perhaps heartbreak is the very essence of being human, on the journey from here to wherever we are headed. And, perhaps, its gift is the opportunity to care deeply for whomever we find along the way, realizing that, despite our efforts to remain autonomous, we cannot hide from the fact that we belong to each other.