This is the part where I write some lyrical, transcendent passage about love, from the depths of my soul, the flame of my heart. This is the part where I quote some sage or poet-- some really cool and together person who has Figured It All Out and Has The Answers for the eternal and redemptive power of love. This is the part where I write soppy love songs and sonnets, make rhymes with swoon and June and moon.
This is the part where I talk about feelings.
Let's face it: love is hard. It can be conditional. It is rarely eternal. It is always a risk. It is vulnerability and the chance for pain-- yours and mine both.It's not just hard; it's scary. So much so that, at some point, after enough pain, enough hurt, enough tears in the name of love, I decided I would never do that again, thank you very much. I closed myself off, sheathed myself in ice and watched.
My heart, such as it was, became a mountain of glass-- hard and smooth, with nary a foothold or crack. Nothing was getting in. Nothing was getting out. I was captive and captor both: safe, protected, inviolate.
I was lonely. Desperately lonely. I couldn't imagine being loved. Not ever. And why would anyone, when I pushed away anyone who ventured to breach my heart of glass? How could anyone, when I was so clearly unlovable and broken?
When I got sober, the people in the rooms gave me the greatest gift I'd ever been given: they loved me. Not because of, not in spite of. They just did. And they didn't want anything in return. Free and unconditional. Love. No matter how much I pushed back, they smiled, they nodded (they remembered) and told me to keep coming back. They said "We'll love you until you learn to love yourself."
And they did. They held out their arms to shelter me and ease my pain. They let me stumble around while I learned to find my way in the dark. They showed me how to face fear and still walk forward. They taught me that I was not broken beyond repair, and that I-- even I -- could find redemption.
Love is a gift. It can make me giddy and breathless. It can bring comfort and offer hope. It is shelter and strength and redeeming. It is holy-- the holiest act of all: it is me, standing before you, giving you the power to hurt me (and doing it anyway).
I've been going around and around, trying to come up with that quintessential something-or-other that will tie this all up in a perfect and pretty bow. I can't. As much as love is a holy gift, a sacred act, it is also messy and uneven, a rocky path that twists and turns and veers into unknown waters. There ain't no guarantees.
And yet-- you do it anyway.
You love. And with that simple and brave and holy act, you find healing and grace.