-verb (used without object)
1. to have or suffer a continuous, dull pain.
2. to feel great sympathy, pity, or the like.
3. to feel eager; yearn; long.
4. a continuous, dull pain (in contrast to a sharp, sudden, or sporadic pain).
On New Years Eve, Mum went around the table to ask everyone to make a resolution. I had been planning on not making one but—after Mum had resolved not to say anything about anyone that she wouldn’t say to their face, and Ashley resolved to have a better semester than the last, and Dana resolved something sort of goofy—I chose to share aloud an idea from Jen Lemen that I had already decided to borrow: I resolved to listen to what my heart was aching for, and then to follow that Ache.
It’s a two-step process, really. First, I have to actually hear what my heart is saying, which is a definite challenge. Never mind actually listening to It.
I’m finding what I already knew: that It’s easier to hear when the world is quiet and my body is still, like at night. (This is part of why I hate being alone with nothing with which to occupy myself, but that’s another topic.) At those times the Ache feels so strong that it is amazing to me that It is the same Ache that quietly permeates my days. Like breathing, my heart’s Ache is always there but goes unnoticed until I turn my attention towards It. Only unlike breathing, which we all need to live, it’s hard to believe that a person can survive with such subtle and silent pains and dreams being whispered all the time inside of them.
Even harder to believe is that we are all surviving like this. I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one whose heart is aching, which makes me ache even more. Worse still, it seems that even if we follow our Aches, more will develop. I’m starting to suspect that most people will live their entire lives aching in some way, including me.
I suppose we need to ache so we continue to hope and dream and strive and desire; it’s also important to have compassion; and if we don’t know pain, how can we ever know pleasure? I suppose as long as we ache we’ll have the capacity to grow.
But that doesn’t make this resolution easier, and it certainly doesn’t make It hurt any less.