A while back, I wrote about the age-old concept of florilegia. I’ve continued my practice of plucking favorite lines as I read, and today I came across one (in Brené Brown’s Rising Strong, which I’m alternating with Northanger Abbey) that really sang out to me.
“The brokenhearted are indeed the bravest among us — they dared to love, and they dared to forgive.” - p. 156
The concept of florilegia, or so I’ve learned, is not merely to pick favorite quotes, but to read the lines you’ve chosen in tandem and consider how they color one another with a new, possibly deeper, meaning. I have to admit, I haven’t been doing much of that. I’ve put that “careful consideration” part of the task on the to-do list for the future (I mean that quite literally: I wrote it down on a list of stuff I intend to do this month), but out of curiosity I decided to see what I’d last pulled from Rising Strong.
“I used to look back at those far-flung dots as mistakes and wasted time…as difficult and dark as some of those times were, they all connect to form the real me, the integrated and whole me.” - p. 53
Oh, my. How beautifully these two sentiments fit together. Hard to believe that the latter quote is actually from over 100 pages earlier in the book than the former. From an entirely different chapter, on an entirely different subject. But I think they are truer together than apart.
Trauma, by its very nature, leaves its scars in ways that seem mostly to break us down into pieces. It takes time, pain, and concerted effort to get to that place where we can see how the heartbreak of the past has burnished us into our real, whole selves. Buried under pain, resentment, and hurt, many never get to that place, or can’t. But oh, the bravery and the beauty of that struggle to reach the sunlight.