What finds you when you're ready to see

A long time ago, my heart was broken. He was a friend, one whose love I thought I couldn't return, until one day I did, and it was too late. I was distraught; I thought I had finally found perfect love, and, the blind idiot that I was, had managed to lose it.

But I knew nothing would come out of dwelling in my misery. To get over that heartbreak--and, more importantly, to get over hating myself--I went on a mission to focus on life's messages of love for me.

By love, I didn't mean romantic love; I meant the love that says I am always blessed, that I haven't missed out on any of life's joys, and that the happiness that I thought I'd lost was still there for me to delight in, to take as mine, to give to someone else.

Still, even if I didn't mean romantic love, and because I had missed love even when it was staring me in the face, I wanted life to tell me it loved me by sending me, why, yes, hearts. What could be more obvious, more telling, than hearts?

People who know me well now know me to be a collector of hearts. But I don't collect heart-shaped things, at least not in the normal sense of the word. Instead, I take pictures of hearts that I happen upon, like that little heart-shaped leatherette purple patch that covered a hole in the seat of a Cubao-bound jeepney or a tiny red heart that I found in a shoe label in a dusty outlet store in Cubao X.

These are life's messages of love for me; they make me happy. You could say I healed my heart with whimsy.

Early on in this personal mission, I found that you find what you are looking for because you've made yourself ready to see. But I also found that what you think you will find because you've made yourself ready to see is nothing compared to what actually finds you.

A long time ago, one early afternoon when my heart was still broken, I was wading in the low-tide waters of Dumaluan Beach, just feeling the sand in my toes, looking at the tiny little fish, trying my very best not to think of someone and miserably failing.

Send me a sign that it's going to be okay, I whispered to the Universe, tell me it's still love eventually.

In the glimmering waters, a tiny pinprick of light sparkled at me. Is that a piece of broken glass? I thought to myself, pausing for a few seconds before realizing one gentle wave could wash out any hope of an answer. Quickly, I knelt in the water, picked up a fistful of sand, and opened my hand to find a twinkling pink heart-shaped gemstone, so small it could have fallen from somebody's ring.

What could be more obvious, more telling, than hearts?