The Truth About Moving On

The science books tell us red blood cells have a life span of 120 days. Though new blood runs through our veins, some of us know memories that have flown through us for years.

And that’s okay.

I hear you.
The weary heart that is tired of all the voices telling you to just “get over it already.”
The disheartened heart that wonders if she can ever love anyone as much as she loved him.
The broken heart that mourns the loss of years of friendship.
And you, who keeps telling yourself “not this” – that it’s been way too long for you to still feel this way.
I hear you.

I guess as humans we naturally progress, and we always want to move on. We want to come to a place of learning how to breath like we used to, without that other person. Arriving at the place where we no longer care, at least that’s what we’re made to think. We’re told that to move on is to stop loving, stop caring, and enjoy that all ties have been severed.

The truth is, you cannot drain an ocean and when you have loved deeply, you cannot one day wake up and unlove. Whether a relationship or a friendship, when another’s name has been etched into our heart, our world is changed because of them, especially when we have discovered parts of ourselves through them.

Human connection is one of the most fundamental cravings and perhaps that is why it is unerasable. Perhaps that is why, like tree roots in barren soil, we take the mould of those whose lives are mingled with ours. Perhaps that is why even after countless months of silence, speaking to them again is like finding a place you forgot existed; like travelling for so long and realising they are home, with the same scent and laugh as they had all that time ago. A place with the front porch light on and an open door, greeted by a smile that still remembers exactly what to say and how to say it. A coffee cup with your name on it, coffee poured just the way you’ve always liked it. Home. Connection. Belonging. And it’s like you never left. And maybe the truth is, you haven’t. Because they are a place where you will always feel known and seen for all that you are.

And that’s okay.

Maybe moving on looks more like making space for the complexity of those “it shouldn’t be like this” torrents of missing them and learning that we don’t need to act on what we feel no matter how potent our desire or longing is. Sometimes every inch in our body bemoans and laments strong feelings for someone and having to silence it. So don’t silence it: write about it, pray about it, sing about it but know when it’s time to put the pen down and walk away. Peace is found when we allow the paradox to be just exactly as it is. Sometimes we expect total clarity with zero doubt, believing it to be an indication that we should stay in a relationship or go back when perfect resolution isn’t there. But that is deceptive, perfectionistic and not very self-compassionate. Then there are the times you realise love isn’t enough and you have to do hard things like leaving.

In the end remind yourself, that just because the space their love left is still hollow, it isn’t a sign that your lives must be intertwined. That means learning to let go of control and living in the tension – wanting but not having, missing but not making what you miss a reality. Our feelings should not surprise or scare us – they are but a glorious, devastating testament to the sheer power of connection.

So what does it mean to move on? I guess that looks different for everyone. For some people it may mean deleting their number or unfriending them on Facebook, for another person it may mean choosing to stop asking about them and for another it may mean going to the places that remind you most of them but making new memories there. Disconnecting the connection is a road overgrown and we must all learn how to travel down it.

Maybe moving on doesn’t look like waiting for change, hoping for that ‘I was wrong’ apology or the day they come back fighting for you. Maybe moving on will never just happen with time. Letting them go is letting go of more than memories and the photographs painted on the inside of your mind. It is letting go of the safety of arms you carved into your own, the sweet dispositions and wide-eyed gazes that only you knew the meaning of and the connection that echoed the largeness of life. Moving on is the daily choice to not carry that love, or loss or that person as your identity.

Maybe moving on isn’t about unloving, and moving on in this way can sound dangerous and feels like losing. But maybe moving on in this way is the bravest thing we can do: to not fear admitting how much love still remains, yet not pursuing that love anymore. Maybe moving on looks a lot like courage; believing that there is a greater cause to live by than our fears.

Maybe moving on is choosing not to shape the memories into our bones – not to live in the past, not to relive the past. Choosing ‘now.’ Choosing to surround yourself with those who can love you well, to remind you that all love is not lost because love is not that person.

And we’ll be okay.

“To touch and feel each thing in the world, to know it by sight and by name,
and then to know it with your eyes closed so that when something is gone,
it can be recognized by the shape of its absence. So that you can continue to possess the lost, because absence is the only constant thing. Because you can get free of everything except the space where things have been.”

– Nicole Krauss


Co-written with Sandra.

About me

They call me Makrina (Greek for “makarios”) meaning to be blessed/happy, and I definitely think I am both! I grew up amongst rolling hills and sheep, in a small town in Scotland, but I'm currently living in London. If I'm not around, you'll probably find me dancing on the red soil of Zambia, with a people who stole my heart, or on the other side of the Atlantic. I love to travel and meet new people (yes, I'm that girl who talks to you while you’re trying to sleep on a plane) I think humans are an incredibly beautiful work of art, like a piece of poetry waiting to be heard, learned from, cherished and loved. And like all art, there is a depth beneath the surface that I desire to see and know in every soul I meet. I am obsessed with words, the power of the spoken word, the written word and even the unspoken word. Writing helps me explore the chaos of my own thoughts; it forces me to be vulnerable, making me face the truth without running. So I write to give a voice to all that is within me, and I share my words with hope that others may find their own voice too. Sometimes it is the fear of what we may discover that cripples us from seeking to know the depth of our own heart, from finding our own voice. Because what if we discover darkness? Who will love that dark? And it is because of this fear that we hide our stories, not allowing ourselves to be known by others. But I met a love that boldly runs his gentle hands along the broken dark of my story, and calls me lovely still. It is this love that compels me to live fully: to relentlessly pursue the story of others so that in a world of fear and rejection, hearts may be known. For I believe that to be known is to be loved. Isaiah 61:1-3


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Reply May 28, 2016

I am soooooo greatful that someone in the Coptic community openly spoke about this topic and it was so beautifully written! In our community we don't talk about breakups openly but it's soooo important that we do. After a breakup a person experiences the same exact feelings as though a person had died; the grief is the same and it is so strong. During this time community, the Body of Christ, is so essential. It's in our most vulnerable state that the Enemy wants to push us further and further away from God. But with the comfort and support and encouragement of other believers as a shield the Enemy will not steal us away. A breakup directly effects your physical, mental and emotional health and it's so important to keep them healthy in order to heal healthy (I have a lot to say about this but for the sake of the forum I'll keep it short lol)! So to those of us who know someone mourning a breakup- ask about the person, pray for them, and comfort them. As believers we are called to to mourn with those who mourn; we are called to comfort.

    Reply May 28, 2016

    Gosh, your words are so refreshing to read!! You preach it girl! We are ALL called to comfort others, especially in this hard area that no one wants to talk about. Our communities need your mentality of loving others through this kind of pain and not shying away. Thanks for raising your arm and declaring your belief in this matter too!

    You are loved.

      Reply May 28, 2016

      Ps.Would love to hear more of your thoughts on this!

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