It seems that I’m becoming more comfortable with embracing challenges these days. With that in mind, I’m embracing the A-to-Z Blogging challenge, by writing about the things that I most closely associate with being alive, when I show up and engage with life as fully as possible.
And with that, I give you:
I have to be honest. I don’t want to write on this topic. I came so close to changing it for something less dangerous like, oh I don’t know “Lions” or “Large Angry Carnivores (see ‘Lions’)” or “Lethal Weapons” or maybe even “Landmine Removal”. Anything but this one topic that can reduce me to cowering in the fetal position in a corner, sucking my thumb, and muttering incoherently.
I don’t do “love” well. I’ve written before about my hope to be brave enough to be vulnerable. I wish I could tell you that I have made significant progress in the last two years, but the truth is for every step forward I take, I seem to take two or three back. Sometimes I wonder if I am one of those who are doomed forever to stand on the outside, looking in.
And yet. . . . And yet.
My friends are still here, still as tenacious as ever, still loving me when I can’t find it within me to love myself, still believing in me, still refusing to let me believe the lie that I am, somehow, unlovable. But I still don’t make it easy for them and I don’t completely understand why.
I have blown up, materially damaged and otherwise ruined enough relationships across the spectrum to finally get that romance is going to have to take me completely by surprise. It seems that I am hell-bent on sabotaging myself and then I turn into something I’m not. The collateral damage is heartbreaking and so not worth it.
But even there, in the brief window between trying out that four-letter “L” word and the onset of panic, there is a moment, a taste of something extraordinary. A hope that one day I can say the words and not feel the need to escape or to destroy, a dream that one day I will be able to stand my ground and let love be whatever it’s going to be. At times like that, I hold on tightly to what C.S. Lewis said on the subject:
“Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
I don’t have a choice, you see, but to allow myself to flirt with the danger, to engage in every way possible, to open up and see if this time my heart is brave enough for this “love” thing. And if it isn’t? Then I’m hoping that I can stand to let it hurt until it heals, stronger than it was before and willing to risk it all again. And isn’t that what engaging with life is all about?