“Is the fear of losing something worth the good that having it brings? I think I just live in such a state of fear of being broken by love that I don’t even trust in it anymore.”
Oh love, there are so many things I do not know. So many I will never know. A handful that require giant blinders, protecting me from what I’m not yet willing to know. The list of things of which I am dead certain is far shorter. But of the few tender truths on which I would stake my existence, this is one that I know to be solid and real.
We are here to love, and love hard, every chance that we get.
A wise woman once gifted me with those words, at a time when I was asking this exact question. She was right, of course. Wise women usually are. Yes, we are here to love. And yes, even with the fear of loss looming around every uncertain corner, it is worth it.
Love lifts us, giddy and hopeful, to the wildest heights. Sometimes we free fall into a gentle landing. Sometimes we get unceremoniously dumped from 30,000 feet. Sometimes love just up and leaves, and we are obliterated in its wake. Instead of happily ever after, our sunset ride is followed by a massive love hangover. And so we grow wary. Lose faith. Stop trusting. We embrace our cynicism, build walls around our fragile hearts and wail ‘I’ll-be-alone-forever-and-nobody-in-the-whole-wide-world-will-ever-see-me-want-me-love-me-ever’.
And at our most bruised and tattered these boundaries are protective and wise and true. We need solitude during that shaky period when, in the eerie empty of 3 am darkness, the floor repeatedly falls out from under us. We need seclusion and distance and dark chocolate and dramatically scrawling journal entries and good girlfriends and movies that make us cry. But time and space eventually grant a reprieve, and we are brought back to our hearts. Back to our truth.
And the truth is that we don’t need to trust in love. Or in forever. Or even ourselves or our partners or the universe. We just need to trust in our hearts. Our wise and foolish, brave and battered hearts. Idealistic and cynical, cracked and patched and still – in spite of it all – stubbornly pumping love through our electric souls. Our hearts lead us into love. They lead us out. And then – crazy and hopeful and free– they knock down walls and move mountains to try again.
Our desire for love is a desire to be seen. To be known. To be witnessed as our truest, most naked selves. And not to be loved because of or in spite of or only if. But just to be loved. To be able to say ‘take it or leave it’ and to have our lovers say, “YES. We’ll take it.” All of it. Gladly and willingly and eagerly. Show yourself and you will be safe. Worshiped for the divine being you’ve always been. And you will be loved. And loved and loved and loved. Today and tomorrow and always. Forever.
But this world cannot promise to deliver us the sugar-spun forever we’ve been taught is our destiny. Nor can our lovers. We can’t even promise it to ourselves. And instead of grasping at false guarantees or guarding ourselves by rejecting love and forever entirely – perhaps what we really need is a new paradigm.
How about embracing a different definition of always or forever? One that is just as long as this moment. This breath. This heartbeat. So that your only task is to live this moment fully. Breathe this breath deep into your soul. Feel this heartbeat pump life through your body and into the world. And then live and breathe and feel the next one and the next one and the next.
Fear only comes from the projection of what has not happened yet. What may happen tomorrow or next week or next year or in our next lifetime. What may never happen. Fear is an imaginary dragon hell-bent on keeping you small. But your heart has done battle and survived. Your love is a fierce warrior priestess who refuses to be contained. You are what is real, here and now.
The present. Today . This moment. This is all we can know. All we hold. All we can ever promise. Anything before or after is a beautiful, wild, unknowable mystery. All of future is uncertain. All of love is uncertain. All of life is uncertain. What is ever guaranteed but change? And this need not feel unreliable or cause anxiety or be labeled cynicism or distrust or inability to commit.
Instead, let it feel like freedom and presence and truth.
Here’s the truth. We love wide open. We love people who deserve it and people who don’t. We love people who have held us through our darkest nights and people who have left us for dead by the side of the road. We love people who have earned our trust and people who should never have had it in the first place. And it cracks us, wide open, over and over again. Sometimes that love is too much. Our wounds cannot close when love keeps wrenching them open again and again. And we want it to stop. Beg it to stop. Please. Please. Please. No more. In our own moments of 3 am reckoning – whenever they arrive – we plead for something different. Something more contained. Something safer and easier and far, far more gentle.
But love is a risk, sweet girl. It always has been. It always will be. And it is the most necessary, the most brutal, the most honest risk we ever take. Do what we will; our hearts will not be closed. They are meant to open. They are made for this. So are you love, it’s what you’re here for. It’s what we’re all here for.
Of that brief list of things that I know to be solid and true, here is another:
We are all broken by love. Broken and built. Built and broken. We are architects of unselfish desire. We are a lifesaving demolition team. We lay the foundation, we bring it crashing down around us, we kneel in the wreckage and scream the primal scream of the damned. And still, still, we love. And we become the most breathtaking mosaic of all of our fragments, all of our love, all of the pieces of our kaleidoscope hearts.
And this is so damn beautiful that it demands to be held to the light.
Hold it to the light, love.
You. Your precious heart. All of the loves that you hold. This is what is real. This is what is true. This is enough. So go ahead, give yourself over to love.
Eyes Lifted. Heart Open. Spirit Wild and Free. Forever.
Uncommon Sense is an ongoing series where I respond to comments and questions that stir my heart. They arrive by email, by text, by comment. They speak to something universal in me, and my response comes quick and sure. If you have something stirring in your heart and would like me to respond – please send me your message. I cannot respond publicly to all messages, but I do promise – with everything that I have – that I will honor it and keep it safe.