This piece has been written in full for quite some time. It sat, hidden, waiting on my hard drive for months, because I was never sure if I wanted to share it. Today is Valentine’s day. It seems fitting.
[Lest you think that I’m a cold-hearted shrew, please read through to the end.]
Love is not easy.
Many years ago, my university school paper published a quote in the centerfold of their monthly issue. It read:
“Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only answer.”
Yes, I thought. Finally, someone is telling the truth.
(my bitter self rejoiced)
I pulled it out and taped it up on my wall. For years, it hung in a place of honor, moving with me, many times over, each time wearing a little thinner. Finally, I lovingly bestowed upon it a full coat of packing tape, simply to keep it all together.
There it hung, representing my awkward dance between boastful, self-sufficient pride and desperate hope.
Then he came along.
Everything did not change. Let’s face it, that love story isn’t real. My bitterness was not magically washed away. I had doubts, I questioned every little thing.
(who am I, to deserve being loved like this?)
These difficulties did not evaporate over night. They were lovingly chipped away, piece by piece, until all that was left was a raw, vulnerable heart,
(with a smattering of sarcasm still in tact)
ready to fulfill its potential. And with a reason to strive toward that potential.
The poster? It has since been taken down, but it still holds a place in my heart, because, you know what? Those words are true. Love is hard. And this love, this combining of two souls, it’s not always happy and shiny and full of rainbows and unicorns.
(although it can be that, too)
It breaks your heart, but not in the way you’re thinking.
(sweat pants and ice cream)
Instead, it happens in the most beautiful way you could never imagine your heart could be broken. Because, after it is broken, it is made new, strong, open, genuine. And when joined with another, this heart becomes something truly remarkable. Something wholly… whole.
Every day is a new adventure. Not always a wild, crazy one. Sometimes its simply a challenge, a hurdle, a problem to solve. Sometimes its a new discovery, or a reminder of an old one. A new feeling, a new realization of the depths that love can reach. I don't mean to say that things can't get boring. Oh, they can, and they will.
(if we let them)
But that’s what life is made up of: the small moments, the in between times, the seemly insignificant daily details that often slip by unnoticed. But they remain, unseen, bolstering us, shaping who we are. Those tiny moments, often imperceptible, are beyond valuable. Each one holds some potential for new, beautiful possibilities.
Just when I think I simply cannot love any more than I do (my heart might burst), a new day comes, and with it, another opportunity for my heart to grow.
(it must be almost full by now)
Often times this newness takes the form of oldness, sameness.
(strange, I know)
But that's the point, it continues onward, it refreshes itself over and over.
(if you will allow it)
This love, it presents itself in a thousand different ways, and, if you aren't careful, it may slip by unnoticed, unseen.
But then, should you chose to pause. To marvel at this love, and the power that it holds in our lives. This unstoppable force that drives us onward.
On we go.
Happy Valentine’s Day.