All Seasons Love

We all come from struggle. Even the cherry blossom. Therefore, dismissing someone as not worthy of our care or attention is a pretentious way of perceiving the world. Even a crude person can have surprisingly tender moments; just as the kindest of creatures are sometimes naturally inclined to bite back at others.

We may contest upon meeting someone and even after interacting with them on a daily basis that we know them. But this isn’t necessarily so. In fact, I would argue that this is rarely the case. It is even possible to fall in love with a stranger; someone who reveals little of who they truly are. Which begs the question: When we love someone, who and what exactly are we drawn to? Which parts? Surely not every part. Because we can’t know every part.

Some parts can only be exposed under certain conditions and situations. Sometimes–most times–the worst parts of ourselves are brought out only by the people we love and trust most. And I think, this is how it’s supposed to be. If we can’t be our worst selves with someone, how are we ever to find true and lasting love? How are we to reach our highest potential? When a tree grows toward the heavens, its roots must extend further into the earth. Its outer layers must be shed as its inner core widens and strengthens. No one can blame a tree for dropping its leaves only to make way for new ones. Sure, you curse them in the Fall when you find yourself picking up after them, creating hours of back intensive labor. But what about the Summer, where in their shade you find solace from the sun? What do you say of the tree and its foliage then?

We cannot expect for love to fall into our laps, suddenly and without hindrance, or to remain static and full of blissful optimism. Love is a process. It can blind you, surprise you, and lead you astray. Love goes through phases, just as a tree must. It has its Winters as well as its Springs.

This is a lesson that has been reinforced for me time and time again. After a long hard Winter, you don’t stay inside your cave, shunning the warmth of the sun now permeating the atmosphere. You step outside to greet the light shining upon your walls, heating what was once cold and crystallized, rejuvenating life once again. You are grateful for the deep slumber only Winter allows, aware of its greater purpose. You feel ready and eager to respond to the world as nature intended, prepared for any struggle you are determined to stand triumphant against. And ready to bite back when necessary. To survive in love, you must be prepared for Winter even as you welcome Spring.

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A Serendipitous Plight

After checking out today’s writing challenge on WordPress, which is to discuss how expectations affect our daily lives, I began scrolling through previous posts to see if any of them might apply. I figured, if nothing else, perhaps it would help spark a new idea for me to write about. And then it happened.

CRASH!!

I hear what sounds like a major collision between two cars right outside my office window. I gasp and leap from my seat, running to the window hoping my ears had deceived me. But behold, they had not. My eyes quickly laid sight on two cars, one dented in the front and one badly smashed in on the drivers side. People were flocking to the scene. I immediately grabbed the phone and dialed 911. My heart sank for the people in those cars, knowing that this is not what they had expected when they began their day.

And this happens all the time. Accidents happen all the time. They are a betrayal of our expectations. Witnessing a terrible accident always makes me feel grateful to be alive and to have my children close to me, safe and well. The thought of something horrific happening to me is terrifying because of what it would do to them. It would totally devastate them, just as I would fall apart if anything ever took them away from me. But really, this could happen at any moment in our lives, and I don’t necessarily have control over it. That’s the scariest part.

I know the people in those cars weren’t expecting to be pulled from their vehicle today and driven off to the hospital. I know they had plans and places they were headed to that have now been replaced with reality which defies all expectations, every time.

So what’s a person to do? When our expectations to live and to move about this world unharmed are met with a mad hard blow, what are we to make of things? When we lose people we love due to some unforeseen chain of events and eventual outcome, how do we recover? People are so accustomed to having choices, more than we can stand at times, but sometimes we aren’t granted any. The universe takes over; we become the victim of someone else’s decision making, or even our own. Whatever the reason may be, our lives are greatly affected and not in a way we had hoped or planned for.

This is the plight of serendipity. Every single choice we make, every small action we take, could be the one that leads to our demise. But I think, so long as our choices are made with positive intentions, so long as we take every opportunity to let our loved ones know how much we care, there’s really not much more we can do but simply hope for the best and be the kind of person we would want surrounding us if we were in crisis. Life doesn’t always seem to go our way. Bad things sometimes happen (to everyone). Expect the unexpected and take it as it comes. What other choice do we have?

Ode to Writers

As I was getting ready this morning, I thought, as I frequently do, about writing. I thought about what it means to be a writer. What allows someone the right to describe themselves as truly being one? Is it either in you or it’s not? What, if anything, makes me predisposed to a passion for words? What allows my mind to find escape in the thoughts every word leads me to while fervidly searching for the right words which would release me from them?

I thought about this. And I thought of all the times writing has saved my life. I think about the trials I’ve just written my way through, scared to death of what might happen if anyone had actually been privy to my inner modus operandi. Some I have been willing to share; most, not. And yet here I am… putting my work out there in hopes that it will make me a better writer, a better observer. Because that, truly, is what a writer is.

A writer notices what most would never care to notice. A writer breathes and bleeds for experience knowing that each one could lead them to another story line, another plot, a final solution to their dilemma; each detail crucial to what will later be revealed providing, at last, a sense of closure.

Now I don’t write fiction. I find way too much inspiration in my own life and in the world around me to feel compelled to write about things that have happened only in my imagination. However, thank the heavens there are minds like that for allowing one to escape if but for a moment. Through characters, we can learn so much about ourselves by seeing traits of us in them. We can learn from their mistakes by recognizing them as similar to ours. And we can better understand those around us by allowing us to get inside the mind of a character resembling someone we may know and care about, as disparate as they may be.

Writing is a way of relating with the world. It’s a way of connecting as an outsider. Words give me hope. They give me purpose. The truth is, I am in awe pretty much every moment of every day that any of this is actually happening. Is this really happening? There’s so much chaos. So much struggle. So much love and so much beauty. I write to make sense of it all.

Paradox of Desire

I can’t help but feed into the contradiction.
I can’t stop from destroying all that was beautiful.
Between you and I,
too many secrets shared.
So I heave them into the unknown,
bury them under my feet far below.
And upon what was felt and what seemed real,
I build a fence for my garden.
I lie there, upon the dirt;
arms outstretched, face peeled before the sun.
Its light burns into my skin
all the remorse,
every tear
I labor to forget.

But I remember the longing
growing like vines
that have long surrounded my abode;
each disappointment reminiscent of home.

I remember the ache in my soul.

I sink deeper and deeper into the Earth,
wishing to undo all of my wrongs.
But soon to come a heavy rain fall and
I am restored to the surface again–
Forced to face the light;
forced to feel it sear into my bones
only to return to blackness.

Stroll

This morning I drove past an elderly couple, all bundled up, out taking their morning walk. And it touched me. I then thought about all the couples out there, making it into their golden years, all that time, hand in hand, strolling through life together. I thought about their joy. I thought about their misery. I thought about me. Will I ever get there? Will I ever find someone to hold my hand along all the rough patches, willing to take a detour every now and then? My parents walk together. My parents don’t hold hands.

And then I wondered whether having someone there at all is better than being alone. Even if every step reminds you of every hidden truth. Even if your inner most thoughts could never be brought to the surface. Even if you are but an empty shell on two feet wishing once and for all you could free yourself from it. So much goes on between two strangers. So much no one else could ever know. It is these deep dark secrets casting a shadow upon the pavement. It is this unknowing of love I would much rather do without.