The Wounding of the Human Heart

A post from the past that I removed and came back to… and now have reposted with additional notes.

Some days are just like this…

I’ve been **so sick** and yet, have things to say.

I hope you find an “Ah ha!” moment in it.

I’ve been reading and was stopped in my tracks, as it were. The book is fiction but as so often happens, truth shines out from a NON-self-help place.

Here are the words that pricked my heart:

There are secrets that must be held close, and most of these have to do with the wounding of the human heart, for sorrow spoken aloud is sorrow lived through twice.

There are two distinct thoughts here:

  1. Some secrets must be held close.
  2. Sorrow spoken aloud is sorrow lived through twice.

Certainly, the first thought, especially, is nothing new. It’s been said in many ways through the years and throughout modalities, from literature to feature films.

I mean… The Bridges of Madison County is all about a woman’s secrets… and um… you know, this scene from 1997s Titanic:

The second thought: Sorrow spoken aloud is sorrow lived through twice is a newer one to me, though not unknown. It makes realistic sense. Don’t you think?

And… *ahem*… it is LIFE CHANGING.

I sometimes wish I could just lose some the more painful memories I carry. If I didn’t remember, I wouldn’t keep talking about (and reliving) them.

It would be so much easier! I can’t remember who told me this story and I might have some of the smaller details wrong but you’ll get the drift…


There was a man who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. One of the side effects was that his recent memory was erased – several months worth, including the day he crashed.

He is in a coma for days and wakes up in the hospital.

He is told that he was in a one-person collision – just his car and a tree.

His wife and family are there, of course, and look a little worse for wear. They are relieved and joyful that he’s fully back with them.

His friends and co-workers come by and he’s happy to reminisce about the job, one he’s loved and held for 20 years.

One day, a woman who says she’s a co-worker comes alone. He doesn’t remember her and tells her so. She cries and runs from the room.

He tells his wife about it and she tries to hold in tears but can’t. She says she’ll be right back.

When she returns, the doctor is with her. She sits down and begins to talk:

I know you don’t remember but you were having an affair with that woman. You met her at work ten weeks ago. I didn’t know about it until the night you came home to ask for a divorce. I said no, I wanted to fight for our marriage. You stormed off. You were angry. You were going to her when you crashed.

Now it’s his turn to cry.

To him, it’s as if it never happened. He is crying for the hurt he caused the wife he loves. He is almost inconsolable. He says something like, “I don’t know why it happened but I promise you, it will never happen again! It may take a lifetime but please forgive me!” She knows he means it. Forgiveness comes rushing in.

His wife will never forget it happened, of course, but she knows she’s been given a new lease on her marriage and she grabs it.

The other woman has also been given a new lease on life, if she chooses to accept it. She can stay and fight for a memory or walk away. She chooses to walk away.

All three of the players in this drama have choices to make about how will they conduct themselves in the future based on what they know from the past.


In sharing this story, I’m saying that sometimes… I wish I could just forget some of the bad decisions I’ve made. You know, move forward without that knowledge that knocks me on my ass routinely – almost cyclically – every few months or so.

But maybe now I’ll remember the lines from the book: There are secrets that must be held close, and most of these have to do with the wounding of the human heart, for sorrow spoken aloud is sorrow lived through twice.

It’s not that the memories need to be forgotten or a new lease on life needs to be given…

It’s just that my secrets are just that… secrets. And so true that they’re “woundings of the human heart”… oh yes, deep woundings.

And … to speak of them over and over again…

Is simply to wound over and over again.

I’m wounding mySELF over and over again.

And maybe, you too?

I love those lines so much and for that reason alone, I will keep this book forever.

I haven’t gushed about the book because while I loved it, I also found it difficult. Choppy. Honest truth: It took a full 18 months to read it.

Hoffman is a talented writer and I was captivated. But… not sure what it was… I just couldn’t commit. That happens sometimes. I’ve kept quite a few books (and a few posts I’ve begun but haven’t finished or posted and retracted – like this one) knowing I would one day come back to them.

Here is the link if you’d like to check it out yourself.

Magic Lessons on Amazon


  1. Good thoughts! Thank you for voicing this!

    I would suggest that self-forgiveness can disappear if the consequences for the original choice (or mistake) linger or repeat.

    You *think* you’ve moved on but the trauma remains. It is then that the re-injuring occurs.

    I hope that makes sense. Does it?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just a thought — that, if there is still an urge to share, met by an urge not to share = a “secret,” and if that thing that both wants and wants not to be shared is still cyclically hurtful, even harmful to ones wellbeing, well, it seems to me the missing ingredient there is true self forgiveness. Once that’s in place, the urge to share in the first place disappears and if it ever comes up either inwardly or outwardly then it’s met with calm self assured dismissal. Just thoughts 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I guess it is all in the approach. A bad decision is a mistake, nothing more and we all make them. But, a mistake is something to learn from, part of an education. And education is life, not a part of life, but life. So it follows that mistakes, be they bad decisions or whatever, are things to be expected and then, things to overcome.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh boy, relating. I just today made a decision not to raise a hurtful topic with my husband. The hurt was 10 years ago, triggered recently by a found letter. What was my motivation to open it up again? We have already moved on. I stopped myself. And I’m so glad I did. I don’t need him to say I’m sorry for the thousandth time. And if he did, I’m putting myself right back in the pain….

    Liked by 1 person

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