My last post asked the question: Who risks again?
What I didn’t know about risks is this:
When something is right, it won’t feel much like a risk at all.
Less than two weeks ago I was seriously wondering if I’d ever jump into anything. I doubted the possibility; was terrified of the inevitable end result. I do brave things all the time, in the most common way. I’m pretty open to meeting new people, I go places alone, I tell people when I have a problem with them, I tell them when I genuinely care.
Though through all of this, I had a big problem with the word love. Wouldn’t really risk it, wouldn’t really give it much credit. It’s just a word and one that hadn’t served me all too well (outside of my family.)
It’s funny what a person can learn about the word Love in just a few moments of life.
A friend of mine recently painted this for me:
I met Meggie back in March. She was oh, the third person I met when I moved to Wisconsin. I’m pretty sure I showed Meggie the photograph of my twin and me around that time. We had some “getting to know you” nights and shared pictures and memories. Many months later, she does this… recreates my most cherished image. She and I affectionately (and with a bit of a laugh) say, “I love you, man,” to each other. This stems from what my dad and I say to one another. “I love you, man.” This to me shows a sense of respect, a sense of humor, and a sense of friendship that runs deep. I would say my relationship with my dad is filled with respect, humor and friendship. He and I understand each other in ways that no one else would really get.
You could say the same for this gal Meggie, who I’ve known for only a matter of months. She has seen me at my worst, at my best, and I will most likely know her forever. She still wanted to keep me around after all that, so lucky me :) The point is, I would call that Love. She took time and created a masterpiece of something I probably only mentioned once. It’s one of the sweetest things anyone has ever done for me.
Yeah, love for sure.
And that’s just the tip of the ice burg. I’m telling you, incredible things have been a’happenin. Unreal things.
Moments of standing out in the cold, never even wanting shelter from the wind. Seeing eagles soar together against the darkening sky. Geese flying out of formation. The big dipper rising right in front of me. Being with someone I know so well, the words are hardly necessary. Knowing that there’s a shift in the wind, in the life I was living, and accepting those changes with a full heart. Allowing myself to cry, to be loved, to learn.
A friend I met by chance, who gives advice, who wanted me to stay (when all I wanted to do was run), and who never gave up on me. She is one of the strongest people I know. She gave me “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss and tears ran down my cheeks as I read it. She knows my darkest places and still tells me I’m a light.
Not having seen them in months, but still getting a “how are you?!” and an “I miss you” and an update on life. Friends from back home truly shine from far away.
And most recently, feeling appreciated and accepted and seen. Being wanted, with absolutely no condition, no hesitation and no restrictions. Fully free, fully willing, filled up with the words of so many small moments that can’t be weighed or measured, for their size can’t be held. Every smile and gesture, all the wondering and waiting in the past (a past that is precious and in its own right just as important) and feeling for the very first time, 26 years into life, that maybe…. no, not maybe, but definitely… things do happen for a reason. At least some things. Everything that’s brought me here. And the risk has diminished. There is no risk. There is only hope and that big word….
Don’t all of these moments sound like love? I was blind to that, I suppose. I don’t think I’ll lose it again.
There’s a song I love by Tom Waits called Never Let Go. It’s the end of each verse that gets me:
“I’ll lose everything, but I won’t let go of your hand….
You can send me to hell, but I’ll never let go of your hand…
Dare me to jump and I will, I’ll fall from your grace, but I’ll never let go of your hand.”
That’s part of the True Love. I know it. It’s why I prefer these songs over just plain old flowery love songs. Every old couple who has spent eighty years together will tell you that they hated that other person at one point. They were hated, too. They fell from grace, surely. They lost it all… whether it be trust, hope, money, a life…..
But they jumped. Dove in, if you will.
At the end of the day, they made it, they didn’t give up. I think I’ve figured out what that kind of Love looks like. It doesn’t let go of a hand. Which is beautiful, because it means a hand was held in the first place.