When things fall apart, we are first devastated. We stare at the pieces on the floor and wonder what went wrong. And eventually, we muster the strength to put them in a box. The box goes away for months, or years, or decades, because we are not able or willing to face the loss. Stained with our sadness, it becomes heavier.

And then one day, we decide to be brave. We take out the box, and imagine that maybe, just maybe, the pieces might come back together. We tenderly arrange them, reminded of the beauty in their details, and careful not to cause any more harm. And slowly, carefully, we build back up the picture that was destroyed. But when we look on our finished work? It is broken. It is incomplete. We are distracted to not see any potential or beauty because all we see are the holes.

We are washed again with despair, because it will always be broken. The first state that it was in, so long ago, will never be realized again. And with age and time, what is left will further deteriorate.

But then from within the darkness, there is a small glow of light. It is a light of creativity, and hope for the future. This light takes colored pens, puts them to paper, and draws in the pieces that were lost.

And in seeing a new picture emerge, there is a realization that the falling apart is inevitable. All of us, and all of our pieces, and things that we love, eventually fall apart. When you have joy, it will eventually be lost. When your heart falls in love, it is unlikely to keep it. The wide ranging perspective is what gives us pause to possibly appreciate the moments that are good more, but also allow ourselves to feel anguish over what was lost. It is not the falling apart that distinguishes or is unique, but the ability to decide to put things back together again, and look for new beauty or meaning, whatever that may be, that defines our strength.

Suggested Citation:
Sochat, Vanessa. "When Things Fall Apart." @vsoch (blog), 15 Nov 2023, https://vsoch.github.io/2023/things-fall-apart/ (accessed 16 Apr 24).