“When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden…” -Kahlil Gibran
This poem evokes mixed emotions in me, mostly because I think there’s a lot of truth in it- truth that is sometimes hard to accept. I believe in balance in all things (at least I try to remind myself to maintain this perspective) in that you can’t fully experience & appreciate the good things in life without having some exposure to the more painful moments that life dishes out like loss or betrayal.
What I don’t believe is that we should shy away from a chance at love (or other good things in this life, for that matter) out of fear of making ourselves vulnerable. There is too much goodness that comes from finding love to try and avoid being hurt. I have been lucky to find my “person,” but it wasn’t without risk of vulnerability and sacrifice. I felt an anxiety in my heart very early on in our relationship, before we even knew if we wanted to play a part in one another’s lives in a romantic way. This pain came from the fear that I could get hurt if I let myself fall in love. The circumstances weren’t exactly in our favor: we both had fresh wounds from the sting of love, and time wasn’t really on our side either, as I knew he would be leaving the state shortly after we had met. Despite this “reasoning” to avoid getting involved, and other logical tricks my mind tried to play as to why I shouldn’t have given it a chance, there was a stronger desire to take shot at being adventurous and choosing love.
What many people in my personal life don’t know is that something seemed to possess me at the moment I decided to have a shot at love. I looked for a job in the city I knew he would be going to, and the universe/God/Holy Spirit- call it what you may- opened up with opportunities. I took a chance and moved out of state without any real evidence that this partial stranger would be my soulmate, and I justified the move with other reasons like being closer to my father and a supposedly better job. But it did not matter what lies I tried to convince my restless mind of, my heart had already decided that love was calling me, and so I was brave and vulnerable and I have never looked back. Our relationship is a beautiful thing- one that honors two individuals being who they are and desire to be; nourishing one another’s souls & endeavors without eclipsing one another.
Love is something I will never shy away from despite the inevitable pains that it brings, but perhaps it is important to note that while I took this chance somewhat “blindly” and without reason, I also was somewhat detached to the outcome. I knew I was playing somewhat of a dangerous game, and so I had to make sure I took care of myself, too and wasn’t blindly optimistic. I’m confident that had it not worked out between the two of us, I had already done enough self-work to have made my time in this new place just as rich of an experience. A wise person once told me that to have a deep desire is an important thing, but to feel independent from the outcome of pursuing that desire is equally important…if not more. Pursue the game of love without fear, but accept what may come as part of your journey no matter what…
I guess one final thought I have on non-romantic love at this moment is based on the memory of losing someone very close to me. I have felt the torture that comes when you let someone into your life enough, to really love them. That vulnerability of placing full trust and responsibility in someone not to hurt you is not a realistic expectation, as we can never control the actions of anyone else. But it’s my belief that love is worth it. Because the contrary is to let fear win. I’ve done that too- I’ve let the fear of emotional pain block me from granting true forgiveness- because to forgive and love again means to expose yourself to more heartache. The choice to not forgive, though, had only resulted in anger and blame and the only person who felt the burden of that stress was me, in these internal battles of trying to reason “why”. When I chose forgiveness in my particular experience, through deep understanding, and truly placing myself in the person’s shoes, it was like a huge weight was lifted from my world. True forgiveness is not easy, but I believe that as much as love is worth pursuing, so is forgiveness. It does not mean more emotional pain, it means the opposite, actually- freedom to experience the rewards of love, again.
And so, my wish for you today is that you love without abandon because it will always conquer fear. XO, Sidney