How do you choose who to be?
Tonight I sat staring at my phone, at that stupid little cursor staring back at me, making me more and more anxious with each of its judgmental blinks. “SO?” it said. “SO? WHAT ARE YOU GONNA SAY, HUH? HUH?”
On Christmas Eve, my favorite night of the year, I send personalized texts (no mass texts ever please!) to those dearest to me to say something sweet to let them know how I feel. My New Yorkers – done! My Californians – done! My Tennesseans – done! Cowboy – oh shit. Do I? Don’t I? Given my recent feelings of RAGE towards him, preceded and followed by my very soft heart for him, I was just so conflicted. Part of me wanted to delete every trace of his existence, and part of me wanted to confess my love in a way that would make any romantic comedy movie look like child’s play. It didn’t help that I ran into his dad this morning, who gave me a big hug and was genuinely kind and friendly.
(By the way, is it weird to say I miss his family? I’ve only met them on a couple occasions, but I really liked them, and continue to like them more each time I cross paths with them. That’s just me, I guess – I always mourn the relationships I see the potential in, but don’t get to have.)
Anyway, as I sat there staring at our text bubble, I wrestled with what (if anything) to say. What this all comes down to is, what do I want to put of myself out into the world, regardless of what I do or do not gain from it? What do I want to be known for and as? What do I want my words or actions to say about me? Do I want them to portray me as manipulative, or controlling, or hurtful, or selfish? No. Honestly, kids, I really do not. I want anything that comes from me to say LOVE. Honesty. Kindness. Faithfulness.
So, having had that conversation with myself, I came to the conclusion that I must speak my heart, because what was truly in my heart was only Love (capital L, as in God’s Love), and I refuse to restrain Love where it exists. We cannot force it on each other, but we must always, always offer it if we’re able. So I spoke the truth. Merry Christmas. Praying for you and yours. Hope to see you soon. And it was all sent with the purest of intentions and the deepest sincerity. Did it expose me, and show my heart? Oh God, yes. But that’s okay. I want the world (and him) to see my heart. I want to be exposed. I want to lay my tender heart at the feet of anyone I can love. What a terrifying but exhilarating place to be.
I recently came across a note I left myself about a year ago, as I was just beginning this journey of softening and warming my cold, sheltered heart. It said, “I want to lose things.” What I meant when I wrote that was that I wanted to HAVE things to lose. Up to that point I had built walls between me and anything I might get hurt by losing, and it made for a very empty, lonely, and meaningless life. I wrote that note as a prayer, saying, “I’m so afraid to care about something enough that I would be hurt to lose it, but not having anything is even worse.” Well, I got what I asked for, didn’t I? I found something extraordinary, and I lost it. What a bizarrely answered prayer, but answered nonetheless.
God, Your ways are not my ways, but I’m totally in, 100%.