I was just struck when one of my childhood heroes told me in one of our albeit infrequent but luxuriously deep conversations that, “nobody talks to me anymore.” She was referring to her family. She spoke plainly, but I heard how the pain she was trying to conceal had eroded a part of her somewhere deep where her light was meant to shine boundlessly. “My fault”, she said, “is that I’ve always been too loving. I’m too sensitive. It’s an unsustainable way to live and I get trampled in the process of merely being me.”
I suppressed the urge to jump in with a “me too”, which was tempting. But after a breath I realized that it really wasn’t. True, that is.
It’s not true that loving is unsustainable. Not for lovers. Not for people who see God in everyone. Not for me, at least.
Do I get trampled? Hell yes. I probably always will. My heart will ache over and over again. It ached a few days ago. It really ached a few weeks ago. It hurt like a fiery hell last year. As one of my best friends says, “that’s how bright fires burn”…
The worst it ached was during my years of codependency. Bear with me – that shit is brutal. I found myself sheltering everyone around me from my true feelings, needs and behaviors with the absurd notion that it served others. Once I became liberated from feelings of guilt or feeling that I wasn’t good enough, that’s when the abundance of light filled my life. I say this in love: if you don’t like me, if you want to judge my words or actions, if you feel yourself cringing when I speak: just leave. Don’t comment on this post. I’ve worked hard enough to gain the confidence to share a photo, much less a journal entry. Unfollow me right now and remove my number from your phone, for both our sakes. Especially for mine.
For a period I spent time with a lover who actually told me who was and wasn’t worthy of my heart under the guise of being my protector. Because he was smarter and much older than me… I listened. I decimated dozens of relationships with people I really loved. My heart ached every day because of my own inauthenticity and the increasing loneliness. With each “unworthy” person I rejected, I lost the sheer pleasure of their light in my life. I lost who I was meant to become in their light. God delivered people to me and I rejected their light. For the past year or so I’ve been on a mission to ask forgiveness from every person whose love I rejected. I touch base with a couple close friends about it regularly and we know it as my “forgiveness project”. I’m finally down to three people. Three people from a list of at least twenty. Some of them are reading this post. Some of them I saw last week. Yet another one of them I’ll see tonight. And for the record, if anybody diminishes the value of asking forgiveness then you can tell them where to stick it. Nevermind, don’t waste your breath.
Some say I don’t “guard my heart”, although I truly hate that phrase for some reason. I usually ignore it, for better or worse. I usually nod but tell myself, “hell no I won’t” somewhere deep within me. Trusting my heart has gotten me this far and from where I stand today, I wouldn’t change much, if anything. I selectively “guard my heart”, I suppose.
While I no longer abandon people before our relationship has come to a natural conclusion or distance, my understanding of the value in ending a friendship that isn’t ultimately serving my highest purpose has coincidentally increased, not decreased because of this project. I don’t think twice about ignoring a call or text from somebody negative. Blocking people. Cutting relatives out of my life because of the darkness that surrounds them (and which I fear, ultimately, could permeate my son). I guess I see no problem with guarding my heart to a point. But there’s a line between guarding my heart and being recklessly eager to see the light in others; even in the in the most unlikely places. The girl at the flower counter who always plays with my son at the grocery store back home. A former assistant who is so funny and vulnerable and genuine that my heart explodes just thinking about the sound of her laugh. I just can’t get enough of people whose faces light up when they smile and their hearts bleed right out of their pores. They aren’t always adorned with glitter, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t gems.
Perhaps there is some power of darkness lurking around the corner and ready to take advantage of me for being too “sensitive”, too naïve, and too altogether loving. Not just loving to others, but especially to myself. Well, I say to the darkness, bring it on. You’re no match for me.
You hear about having a “cross to bear” and if there’s any cross I’ve carried, it’s the burden of loving so deeply, boundlessly, endlessly, naively, impulsively and wholeheartedly that, yeah, my heart breaks. Kind of a lot. Since I was a kid my elders scoffed at the hoards of “black sheep” I collected. Maybe they still do. I don’t notice anymore.
In medicine there’s a concept called comorbidity, or the coexistence of two chronic diseases or conditions in a patient. I don’t know much; I may read this in a week or a day and think it’s nonsense or dribble or humiliatingly foolish. So I’ll erase it. Whatever. But I do know this with damn near certainty: guilt coexists with hate. Judgement coexists with fear. But love, alas, coexists with light. Love coexists with hope. Love coexists with truth. Love coexists, if I may say, with happiness. At least for me. But I may be wrong… ignorance is bliss.
All I know is that with my bold, unrelenting, and dare I say naïve love has come blessed synchronicity in my life. Holy cow the synchronicity.
Especially now. When I’m in willing surrender to the only infallibly wise voice I have ever heard. God’s. The Universe. Spirit. Frank. That voice that still speaks to you no matter what you call it.
Ah, synchronicity. Today, albeit during times other people could find to be really scary, God’s arms squeeze me so tightly that I can’t move without smashing into synchronicity. Blessed, mind-boggling, take-my-breath away synchronicity.
Don’t jive with synchronicity? Okay, what I mean to say is that with God all things are possible. Seriously, this isn’t a joke. God is love and with love our power is absolutely limitless. With love we harness the energy of this unfathomably great universe. I harness the energy of the universe in my small, simple life with my small, simple dreams. They’re big to me and that’s all that matters. I’m in the clouds. I’m floating in the Milky Way among 100 billion planets. I’m somewhere between 200 billion stars. I’m laying in bed and the ceiling is right above my nose and my comforter is so heavy I can’t lift my arms.
I’ve shared my desire to write about a life-threatening illness I overcame. The stories will surely embarrass some people and turn even more stomachs. Yes. Bring it on. I’m not here to delight you. I’m here to delight God. And He’s called me to one thing: Love.
Even as I write tonight I reflect on this past month; the superheroes appearing like pieces to a puzzle I once found impossibly hard. But now, every piece is a corner. This is too easy. Love has gamified my entire life. The woman on the elevator who wants to make googly eyes at my kid might change my life today. The guy who wants to pet my dog when I’m in the middle of a conference call may be yet another corner piece. Sometimes people ask me why I smile so much and it’s because the game of life is hilariously unpredictable and it delights me. Every day I’m getting badges and trophies and colorful little icons on the bottom of the screen. It’s almost too easy once you understand the rules. It kinda feels like cheating.
I smile as I lay in bed, reflecting on it. I stare at the ceiling that’s dancing up and down above my nose like I have a fever. Love’s a drug. I’m intoxicated. It’s silly. It doesn’t make sense. I’m present but I’m not even fully on this planet. I’m on the balcony pacing in the middle of the night. I pick up a pen. I pick up a book. I pick up a chocolate-covered pretzel. And I really love all these things but what I’m really hungry for is to wake up again and pour my love into my son, my neighbor, and the random woman I meet in the elevator. All these people with their light and everything they’re giving me in every type of weather. I’m back in bed, anticipating. Every hair standing on end, grinning ear to ear. I can’t wait for sunrise every morning and I’m surprised at how many of them I’m catching without an alarm clock these days. I’m floored. I’m reeling. I want to sow love and reap the harvest that ensues every damn day.
Anyway, here’s how the conversation wrapped up with my childhood hero.
We talked about love as it relates to God. To Christ. To all the absurd religious icons and doctrine that has been used to distract us from the perverts who’ve labored in darkness to destroy the real message.
And that message? Yep. It’s love. (But you knew that.)
That’s the only “cross” I’m asked to bear. Perhaps I’m doing it all wrong. But I’m pretty sure I’m not. This synchronicity I’m walking in is pretty much life.
Hold on a sec there, wouldn’t Jesus tell me to guard my heart? Yeah, yeah, I know it’s in the Proverbs or Psalms or something, right? But really, didn’t He say, “if anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.”
How does that passage even remotely relate to love? Well I’m glad you asked. I probably actually have no clue. But here’s what I know as of today. I’d hate anything that separates me from God’s love. Any obsession. Any possession. Any person. I’ve tasted the only thing worth living and dying for and there’s no looking back. So yeah, I guess I am guarding my heart just fine.
God, you take my breath away. You make my hair stand on end. You send shivers down my spine. You keep me up at night and we never run out of things to talk about. I long for messages from you all day. And yes, I still completely over-analyze everything when I don’t hear from you. “What did I say? What did I do? Does he still love me?” But the thing is, you’re never mad. You’ll never ghost me. You’re always there even when I can’t hear your voice and it feels like there are miles between us.
As I once heard a preacher say, “God has a picture of you in his wallet”. Yeah, it was a long time ago. For you millennials what that preacher meant is that God has you as his screensaver, His wallpaper.
What about you? If you could have one superpower, any single one, what would it be? I think you know what I’ll choose. Maybe I’ll hone in my superpower one of these days so that my heart doesn’t break quite as much. But to be frank, at this time, I wouldn’t really change a thing.