knowing what you don't know / by KR

”Don’t know much about love,
Think it starts with belief.
I’ve seen it there for healing,
I can feel it beneath my feet.”
- Sarah Masen

By weeks end I will be crossing over another birthday, another year of being alive, learning about belief/love…and what a year it has been.

A friend just asked, “where do you see yourself in ten years?” That’s a question I don’t give much credence to. Life experience has taught me that the journey we set out on and the journey we actually take are never what we expect or plan; and whenever I’ve fought to keep what I expected, I missed the beauty that was given. Not to mention that most everyone I’ve met that actually achieves all the things they wanted in their ten-year plan seem to be some of the most miserable people around… likely because what they wanted so badly kept them from seeing the amazing right before and around them along the way. But in ten years I hope to be more loving, more creative, more human, and that the “things” of my life reflect this – be it relationships, work, writing, kids, community, art, changing the world, or simply breathing.

No surprise, then, that the past few months I’ve been delving more into the realm of Love – that nebulous, undefined, disturbing, wind-like reality. What does it look like? What does it mean to love? What would life be like if it was truly fueled by love? What areas of my life are cracked, parched ground that need the water flow of love?

George Macdonald wrote, ”As it was love that first created humanity, so even human love… will go on creating the beautiful for its own outpouring.” Creating the beautiful out of love, so to love. Yep, I want that. The artist in me can’t help but “get this;” and my heart in relationships gets this, too. And the rest of me, um, is still catching up. What might happen if I approach work, occupation from this place? To choose meals, exercise with this in mind? What would happen to friendships if this is more at the center? How would I see you differently? Myself, for that matter?

And if it’s Love, the Real Thing, then it isn’t flowers, furry rabbits and sunshine, all soft-lit like some Hallmark special. Love gets dirty, mucked, bleeds, cries, holds close and yet open-handed; sometimes makes a mess of things on the way to creating beauty, walking hopeful through utter darkness even when that darkness is the person right next to us, or our self. Lately, I am surrounded by relationships that are battling through the hard places of love – marriages trying to rediscover each self, navigate cancer, stroke, separation(s). Love seems to have forgiveness at its core and forgiveness is often the most difficult of feats for our humanity, (and yet, it is what makes us so human). I’ve had to navigate my on versions of these ways of love, too.

”You don’t know you don’t know,” is something my friends and I say often. It is said of single people (of whom I am one) who think they have an understanding of marriage, it is said of twentysomethings who think they have an idea of thritysomething, or of thirtysomethings by the next decade; of parents to those that have no children, and the list goes on. At it’s core is the fact that until you’ve been down that road, in this place, loved like that you just don’t get it. There is a reason older often means wiser. And if Love has been the fuel behind experience and the years lived, then there is grace not to hold against you what you don’t know. (Though it doesn’t stop me from getting uppity when “they” don’t get that they don’t know)

Crossing over the midpoint of thirty, I am aware my rudder runs deep as the waters grow deeper, sometimes darker, and that my sails are more ratty-torn, not as full as they were in my teens and twenties. Many of the things with which I left safe harbor have been tossed overboard for all the drag they were. And I find that the ocean is much more exciting and unpredictable than staying close to shore, that there are quite a few weathered friends close by whose rudders have depth beyond mine and, brushing all pretence aside, come to each other’s rescue because we know what’s it like to brave the crest and plunge the troughs together.

”To the impossible: Yes! Enter and penetrate…Only the absurdity of love can break the bonds of hate.” wrote Madeleine L’Engle. On the eve of my birthday I say Yes to the impossibilities, knowing that in all things it is dirty, wonderful, messy love that creates beautiful… and it’s the only life worth living anymore.

”Think it starts with belief…”