Aren’t they an interesting things, these lives we lead?
Isn’t it strange to see things come and fall away – meaning the world to us one moment, feeling as far away as the moon the next? How is it a human can promise their whole life, while holding back vulnerability and truth? How is it we can throw our hearts into the hands of another, with the deepest of trust, only to have them trampled and left abandoned? How is it we do this, knowing the risk it always brings…
The weather is shifting.
The wind blows with change.
I don’t know what it is.
I don’t know if I like it.
I know part of me doesn’t like it at all.
I’ve felt a sense of difficult change on the horizon for weeks now… and fight it off as I may, sometimes things die while we’re desperately trying to breath life into them.
It makes my chest cave in.
It makes my eyes overflow with tears as I wake, as I drive alone in the car, when my children and friends put themselves on rotation to check in on me and make sure I’m ok.
But I also know that the death of one thing, as painful and wrong as it may be, always brings on the life of another after a time.
I lead a life of tension.
Something is always passing away, something else is always being birthed.
I have made mistakes.
And often they are deeply embarrassing to me.
I’m constantly striving for perfection, and it eludes me more often than I find it.
But I don’t pretend my failings don’t exist.
No, my life is so very visible.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My friends, my community – they don’t love me because I put on a happy face and show them what they want to see. This strange collection of humans love me because they see me at every stage of my existence, and see through the pain and brokenness and the grief and the joy and the weird wonderfulness of my antics, and they love me anyway.
There is nothing hidden from my personal timeline.
In her book, Bird By Bird, Anne Lamott said: “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.”
And I hold myself to this, as well…
Failed marriages? I have two. Both highly visible. Both rocked my world and broke my heart into pieces I thought could never be put together again.
Love affairs gone wrong? Oh, they have all been on display in living color, my heart beating wildly on my sleeve, my friends holding me when it all falls apart.
Friendships lost? Some never to be recovered. Some on the mend. Some returned to me as though they were never harmed in the first place. But always with honesty about my part in whatever happened between us…
My heart is a patchwork of mended pieces, and I don’t pretend that it’s anything else.
Triumphs or trials, I erase nothing and no one from my history.
Because each of these experiences make me who I am.
And I am not ashamed of my life or my choices.
I won’t pretend anything that happened didn’t happen.
I won’t make my life look pretty in an effort to entice someone new to think I’m a catch.
I know my worth. I know what I have to offer a relationship – of any kind.
And I know that if anyone is actually going to love me, they have to know me.
Not a sanitized and shined version of who I think will be desirable.
I have said from the beginning, I am a mess.
I love hard and fast, and I will never apologize for that.
Because I also know how to love forever.
I know what it means to be committed, for good or bad.
And I know what it means when someone else won’t stand by their word, and ceases to chose me again and again – as I’ve chosen them. The pain that comes when they walk away because it’s easier, more exciting, and simply doesn’t make them face their own selves with honesty and humility and honor.
I know what it means to clean up the broken pieces, and repair my heart once again.
And offer it up again, flawed and fixed with hope and grace…
I don’t pretend my failings – or those who’ve failed me – don’t exist.
I don’t erase my past… to do so is to lie about the most basic of things… who I am.
And if I lie about who I am, how can anyone actually know and love me?