It takes 1,700 pounds of pressure to break a femur, the largest bone in the human body. A smaller bone may only need 25 pounds before it snaps.
The belief is that once you break a bone, it will heal even stronger than it once was.
We have that myth about our hearts too.
We are told that we get strength from surviving tragedy and suffering. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, the saying goes.
The reality is that a broken bone, once healed, is no stronger or weaker than it was before. It has just as much of a chance of breaking after, than it did previously.
There is a period when a broken bone is healing, wrapped tightly in a cast, that the immobility of being in that cast causes the site of the fracture to grow stronger than the rest of the sleeping bone. For a brief moment, the break is its strongest part.
When the cast comes off however, the bone goes back to the business of a being a bone, regains its original strength, no more, no less. The fracture’s increase in strength, nothing but an illusion.
We want to believe that tragedy and grief imbues us with super strength. But it doesn’t make our hearts immune to or fortify us against future pain. The crack in our heart seems a source of strength, in sharp contrast to our flailing, inert soul. But eventually, we dust off our soul to get back to the business of life, leaving the heart vulnerable once more.
We appear healed and they tells us we are stronger for it as we walk around on renewed limbs.
We think, I survived this, I can survive anything. So we plunge off the edge into life headfirst, supported by mythic wings.
And when we crash, and we will crash no matter how strong we perceive ourselves to be, the ground shatters our fragile hearts into a million pieces all over again. We are left shocked and breathless, lying on our backs, our wings but dust surrounding us.
After everything, at the end of it all, we are still just bones, as breakable as we ever were.