I think I was made for a big love.
Maybe that’s why it’s taking so long. Maybe it’s percolating, simmering, brewing. In me and in him.
If there’s one thing (and of course there are thousands) I’ve learned this year it is that I love BIG. My heart is bigger than the empty stretches of South Dakota I drove through last year, and believe me, those are LARGE. There were times I thought I’d never reach the next town. I even got a little scared from time to time – no cell service, no signs of life, no other cars on the road. “What happens if I get stuck out here?”, I thought. That’s a bit how my heart feels as of now. What if I get stuck out here, alone, enjoying the adventure but definitely not wanting to stay in transit forever? I’m squirming in my seat. I can’t quite get comfortable after so long in the same position. No matter which direction I look I just see more of the same landscape, mile after hundreds of miles.
I loved the quiet of those days, though. I went for hours without sound. Just me and my thoughts, editing through all the things I’ve ever thought or believed. I think there were many people who didn’t believe me when I said I drove hundreds of miles a day without turning on the radio, but I was so grateful to be given endless amounts of time to be a visitor in my own mind. There was a lot of junk in there to sift through. By the time I came home, I’d done a lot of purging. I released so many false ideas about my limitations and what I thought I deserved (or didn’t). And most significantly, I finally discarded the ideas that I neither wanted nor deserved a GREAT BIG LOVE.
Having love and losing it is hard – that’s not a new idea. Shakespeare beat me to it a few centuries ago. But I’m so fortunate to have come out the other side without becoming bitter and hard. Having love, even for a brief time, softened me to all the beautiful risks that come with making yourself wide open. For a small moment in time, I experienced what it was like to connect with another person on the most honest, joyful level, and it has left me hungry for more.
I LOVE loving someone. I have never in my life felt more at home than I did in that role. I’ve felt it before with close friends and loved ones. There is just something in me that comes alive when I have the chance to love another person on a truly vulnerable level. I’ve been doing some self-inventory lately, asking friends very pointed questions, one of which was “What is it about me that draws you in? Why have you dug in deep with me?” The answer I’ve received repeatedly is that I make people feel comfortable, accepted, valued for exactly who they are in this moment. Not with slightly better morals or funnier stories or better clothes. Just you, right now, like this. And boy, do I mean it. Who are you? I want to know you, all of you, just as you are. You are so fascinating! Look how your story is different than mine and just the same all at once!
This has made for divine friendships, full of honesty and warmth. And I am coming to believe that it is going to make for an utterly remarkable love story. Whoever he is, I am going to love him with a love he hasn’t dared dream of. I am going to be his champion and his quiet place to rest. I am going to push him to leap and catch him when he falls, simultaneously. I am going to ignite his passion and protect his character all at once. I am going to sing his praises and challenge his ego. I am going to wait patiently while he struggles, and comfort him when he falters. I am going to celebrate him when he achieves what he thought impossible and I am going to trust him even when he doesn’t trust himself. I will commit to show him honor and grace and respect and support each chance I get. I will meet him at every moment, because I have been afraid and insecure and lonely and self-critical and angry too, and because I know how awful it feels when you let down someone you love, and how much you want to run away and hide.
That part is easy for me. Maybe you think that’s nuts, but it is. Love comes easy to me, at least now after all I’ve been through. I crave the chance to love others. But being loved? Now that is a fight. But it’s one worth fighting. I choose right now, right this very minute, to believe I’m worth being loved the way that I love, that my big love will return to me tenfold. Because I believe that God is completely capable of creating a compliment to me, albeit with chest hair and rougher hands and a five ‘o’ clock shadow. And I don’t think that He made a heart as big as mine to be alone. In the meantime, my responsibility is to take this big love and spread it over as many people I can until he comes along.