Thursday, February 14, 2013

An open letter to the love of my life: Valentine's Day edition

Examine your promises. Photo by animm, flickr

Howdy there love,

Are you expecting a Valentine's Day hater post? I'm sorry to disappoint you, then. I don't actually hate V-Day. Its over-commercialization and ooey-gooey sentiment? Yes, I hate that. The bitter "Singles Awareness Day" anti-Valentine snark? Yes, I hate that too. But the idea of a holiday celebrating love? What's not to love about that?

Amid the blaring red hearts and sappy love songs, I've been thinking about the core of love -- its mystery, its awe, its demands. I've been thinking about my family, my friends, my colleagues, my fellow movers about the world, my God. I love them all in their own way, some more easily, some more deeply than others.

Here's the sticky wicket about love, though: If you're truly open to it, you risk becoming unmoored. I think that's the truer meaning of "swept off your feet" -- that you've left yourself so vulnerable to this remarkable emotion that you relinquish control and go off in the tide.

That said, it's damn hard to get to that point. I'm a pretty loving person, and I've barely scratched the surface at times. The depth I feel in moments when I do breach my own limits frightens me with its intensity. But it entices me as well. Addicts me, even. I want more of that feeling in my life -- with God, with family, with friends, with you.

So in the absence of a V-day date (I'm going to an improv + burlesque show instead, because what's more indicative of my love life right now than laughs and pasties?), I'm going to make you a promise. Promises, after all, are commitments -- IOUs, declarations, assurances. And I'm committed if nothing else.

I promise to be open to love. Not just love of you, but all love. Real love. Love at its core. I promise to fear it yet invite it anyway. I promise to seek it and appreciate it. I promise to form it where it doesn't exist. For I believe that knowing love -- living love -- will lead me to everything that's worth having in this world.

Will that include you? I sure hope so.

Love,
Me

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Yep, you guessed it: more open letter crowdsourcing. Round 3's prompt was, "What do you promise to the love of your life, be they found, lost, or unknown?" I hope the result inspires you to make some promises of your own.

Bonus dare: Listen to this song while you read the post and try not to have feelings.


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Prayer #240: An Open Letter to the Love of my Life (part 3)

To the one I love:

I promise to treasure you and our love. I promise to enjoy and acknowledge it, to be responsive to its needs, as if it were a living thing to be tended.

I promise to always care. I'm not sure I can honestly promise that anything else will always be true, but I will always care.

I will work by your side to reach our goals -- and our potential -- as individuals and as a unit. I promise to challenge you, but also to lend you help and support when you need it, and to accept your help and support in return.

So many people seem to allow "becoming comfortable" with each other to include taking each other for granted. I promise to try to not let that happen. I will be grateful for you.

I promise to cherish traditions and remember who we are, while exploring new adventures with you and being open to changing together.

I promise to be better, even though you never ask. I will go out of my comfort zone for you. Over and over again.

I promise to value your time, your heart, and your mind. I promise to still reach for your hand five, 20, 68 years in.

I also promise to try and remember why I wanted to be with you in the first place. Those exciting reasons and feelings fade with time, but I think they are critical to keeping the promise of forever love.

I promise to say I love you every day and every night no matter what.

I promise to celebrate life's little things with you, and I will include chocolate cake at all special occasions.

I promise I'll be happy even if all the other things in my life fall through, because nothing gives me greater joy than keeping my promises to you.

Amen.

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