Thursday, October 18, 2012

An open letter to the love of my life

Waiting? Photo by K U M Z
Dear love of my life,

I think of you when I'm cooking dinner. When I'm running errands. When I'm wearing sweatpants. When I'm feeling pretty. I think of you in all the small, in-between moments that comprise 90% of our lives, yet are so much more noticed when you have someone noticing them with you.

I think of you at the holidays, too. At weddings. At funerals. At births. I think of you in all the moving, seismic shifts that comprise 10% of our lives yet feel close to its entirety because these shifts remind us why we're alive and that we're living them together.

I think of our kids, our vacations, our dates, our fights, our accumulated history that as of today hasn't started accumulating yet (at least not to my knowledge). I think of all we will share, and I'm impatient, because I know we're going to be awesome and I want the awesome to start RIGHT. NOW.

I don't think of your face. There are 6 billion people in the world. You will look like a combination of two of them. That's all I know.

I do think of your heart and mind a lot, though. Don't ask me how, but I just know, somewhere in an untapped part of my heart, how they look. They are bright. Kind. Compassionate. Feeling. Loving. Funny. Adventurous. Thoughtful. Good.

Good.

That's the conviction I summon when couples walk by me in the busy city and their locked hands pack a double fist to my chest. That's the assurance I cling to when I see two people blossom into their best, most loving selves with each other. I know that you are good, and that you are out there, and that you are waiting.

It's bigger than waiting, though, isn't it? You're preparing. Just like me. You're out there with your friends, your family, your job, your life. You're cooking dinner, running errands, attending weddings and funerals, visiting your family. You're watching others pair up. You're wondering who is out there for you. And every triumph and tragedy -- every moment when you're lonely, confused, content, or overjoyed -- is molding you into the person who will want me.

Who are you? Where are you? When are you? The questions roll around a lot in my mind. I know better than to expect the answers in a given timeframe. It doesn't keep me from asking, but really, I do know the answers will come in due time. Or, at least, I hope -- trust -- they will.

Until then ...

Expect and demand the best -- of yourself, of me, of us. Prepare for imperfection from all sides. Get excited. Stock up on Post-It notes to leave me around the house.

And be good, ok?

Love,
Me

---

Now, a note on this week's prayer:

As I was brainstorming this post, I asked people on Facebook and Twitter, "What would you write to the love of your life (found, lost, or still in search of)?"

I received so many poignant, funny, heart-punching responses that I decided to mold them together into a crowdsourced meditation. It's far from complete, so if you have open letters of your own you'd like to share, please add them in the comments!

P.S. All the comments from those who have found love started with "thank you." Coincidence? I think not.

---

Prayer #228: An Open Letter to the Love of my Life

Thank you.

Thank you for believing in me.

Thank you for loving me for me.

Thank you letting me change and loving me for it.

Thank you for understanding my crazy, determined attitude and embracing it.

Thank you for being the only one who can put up with all my crap.

You are my inspiration and my best friend. My life is so much better and happier for having found you. I'm glad you love this life as much as I do, and I'm not sure what I'd do without you.

See the way the city has become so magical? Every place -- every diner, movie theater, sidewalk, park bench? This is great, this feels like a miracle ... but this isn't even the half of it.

We have many ups and downs, but still I say: thank you.

Thank you for helping me grow up. Thank you for listening. Thank you for being willing to soften and for being willing to push me to soften where I need to.

It's funny to think about how those sweet picnics under the stars are really about moving us forward on the journey -- the super-serious, capital J Journey -- to something bigger, more, beyond our little selves. Thank you for being on that journey with me.

I didn't have the slightest clue for so very long. But here we are. And now ...

Now I can't wait to meet you.

I see you -- do you see me?

Please exist. And please hurry up.

Because once we meet, the rest will all make sense.

Amen.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Poet Mary Oliver (and my friend Chuck) on wonder

"A wise man is astonished by everything."
Photo courtesy Todd Huffman, Flickr.

MYSTERIES, YES
by Mary Oliver from Evidence (Beacon Press)

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds will
never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
"Look!" and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.

What does this poem mean to you?

When I re-posted the closing quotes on Facebook a few months back, my friend Chuck chimed in with a thoughtful rumination on the subtle challenge Oliver poses:
It's a balance between persistence and humility, something that I've always struggled with. Perseverance requires immense confidence in one's convictions. In order to be a bold, transformative force, to "be the change one wants to see in the world," one must be convinced that one has at least some of the answers.

It means having the courage to advocate a position and attempt a solution. It also means having the humility to avoid inflexibility and dogmatism; to change course when necessary.
I think he pretty much nailed it ... and gave me a slight complex in the process, because HOW THE HELL ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO ACHIEVE THAT?

I suppose the first step is to follow Oliver's advice and surround yourself with people who maintain wonder. Maintaining wonder doesn't mean indecision, naivete, or wishy-washiness; it means looking at the world with clear eyes and staying open to the endless awe it can inspire, even amid your chosen paths.

Yeah. That sounds good. Let's start there.

Prayer #227: The Wonder Year (part two)

When I stray too close to the naysayers, push me behind you and block the path. When I drift too far from the exclaimers, sling me back into their orbit. And when I glimpse the universe in all its bigness -- bigger than I can comprehend yet love no less -- join me in my sudden, breathless laughter.

Amen.