Reflections of Love and Appreciation
Life provides us with powerful moments to take care of each other.
Sometimes, there no rhyme or reason to it. We can’t explain why we’re drawn to a person’s story, why we’re compelled to help. Sometimes, that person is family; and because there are no ties stronger than blood, we do whatever we can to jump in a rescue those that belong to our clan.
I find Life is presenting me with a handful of powerful moments.
Once again, there is a lot of transition as I look for my path. There’s been a lot of trial and error in the last few years, and I’d like to think each “failure” is a lesson-learned that will make me a more understanding, more aware individual when I finally find my true path. And in this moment of transition, I could also say turmoil, I’ve been charged with caring for people that are going through their own life-changing moments.
It’s a awe-ful responsibility – the opportunity to care for and impact another’s life. The exchange during a shared-path connection can be overwhelming, scary, generally uncomfortable. There’s a lot of unknown territory and “going out on a limb,” and it’s hard enough to step out of our own comfort zone, never mind being a part of someone else’s out-of-comfort-zone experience.
There’s a lot of potential for vulnerability and raw honesty, a lot of potential for love and appreciation.
Potential doesn’t turn into actuality unless we choose it. It’s an active engagement in our own lives…and in the case of caring for others, active engagement in the lives of others. It’s adventuring hand-in-hand to the outer limbs, no matter what, because the understood endgame always includes love and appreciation. Period.
I’d like to go out on the limb and find buds; new growth that suggests potential is turning into actuality. For me. And for those I care about.
What about you?
How do you feel about the opportunity to care for family and friends?
A love letter is a great way to get some thoughts out on paper. A note to share thanks and affection for a shared experience. Take a minute to read how the community is expressing themselves via love letters.
I’d like to welcome a guest this week to share thoughts on the love letters page. I’ve known Ryan since high school, when he was the coolest Freshman hanging out with my inner-circle of Senior friends. He’s still one of the coolest guys I know.
You can find him writing about all kinds of things on Self Sagax.
By the way, in case you need to know (because I did), “sagax” is a Latin word meaning of quick perception, acute, or alert.
I’ve wondered for a long time what it’s like to be single on Valentines Day.
The Valentines Day dance was coming up in a week. This year it happened to fall on a Friday, which was perfect all around because nobody ever really wanted to go to the dances that were during the week. I’d had a strange sort of crush on Georgia, and she rode my bus too, which meant she lived nearby. I liked having pipe dreams of having a girlfriend whose house I could get to by riding my bike. I often imagined that she lived just on the other side of the hill from my house. I got up the nerve that Monday to pass her a note in class asking her if she wanted to go to the dance with me. I even put in the little check boxes for yes and no. Minutes later, it was passed back with the little box next to no ticked. I was sad, but not heartbroken. I went to the dance by myself. So did she. I asked her to dance. She said no again. I was a little heartbroken.
That was in 1997, and it was the last Valentines day until now that I’ve been really and truly single.
I’ve had to get used to the possibility of being single on Valentines Day for the last two years now as I’ve been quasi-single, caught in the throes of attempting time and time again to save a failing relationship. Somehow it happened that both years my quasi-girlfriend and I were getting along well so there was no need to worry.
Then there is now. For the first time in sixteen years I am truly and completely single on this holiday that has come to be embodied my people of all ages in love, holding hands, maybe sharing a tender moment and gifts. I always wondered what it would feel like. Now I can tell you. It feels a little crummy.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of the holiday. I’ve never been one to celebrate it with big romantic gestures, fancy dinners, expensive gifts or anything of the sort, but it’s always been a day of some sort of validation. It’s OK to be a little flamboyant with the PDA’s, an excuse to drink wine on a weekday, a night to go ahead and set aside time for some heavy cuddling (and perhaps more.) I liken it to this:
When I was in high school, for every single assembly the seniors would enter last. The rest of the student body had to rise and remain standing until the senior class had filed in, and then finally they were allowed to be seated. It was awful and annoying… until you were a senior. Then it felt great. It was a mark of respect for your hard work in reaching your final year.
And being single on Valentines Day feels like having to stand and watch as all the happy couples get their day of recognition. Which feels crummy, for the exact same reason: because this time, it’s not me.
But I still like the day. I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time. Not because I plan on going out and meeting someone at a single’s event (I don’t) or because I’m going to surprise the girl I have a crush on (I’m not) or because I’ll somehow stumble upon a strange and winding series of events from a movie that will end up with me rescuing and then kissing the girl of my dreams at one minute before midnight (I won’t.) But because I’m looking at it from a different angle.
Valentines Day is not about buying gifts, or cards, or dinners, or sex, or getaways, or any of that nonsense. It’s about love. It gets so muddled up with ’romantic love’ (because, honestly, that’s the best way to move products) that sometimes people are convinced that that’s the only kind of love there is, but there’s so many other amazing kinds and Valentines Day is about celebrating all of them. Your parents, your children, your siblings, your friends, it’s about loving them too. Love strangers, if you want to. I often do. Love the little happy moments in your day, like getting green lights all the way to work, or getting a lollipop from the bank. Love the bad moments, too, because they exist to help the good ones feel so much better. Love the sun, because even though you won’t live to see it, someday it will die too. There’s an endless list of things to love, and this is the day to make sure you love all of them. It doesn’t matter if you’re single or attached or married or whatever. Love your cat, your X-box, love a flower you saw on the side of the road.
Because I don’t know if you know this, but love is pretty much the coolest thing I can think of, and having a day that’s all about love is pretty much about the best thing too.
Even if I do feel a little crummy for not having someone to hold hands with.
We talk about the love of a lifetime, having a life partner, being with someone forever. And it’s always in the context of the big chunk of time, the life time.
But that’s not how life is lived.
Life is moments. Moments in which we can choose…whatever.
We can choose to be selfish or to share. We can choose to live inside our heads – living isolated even if we’re coupled-up, or express our thoughts with someone and really engage in the opportunity of partnership that’s available. Each moment gives us the opportunity of choice, a million little forks on the path of our journey.
But are we paying attention to those forks?
I mean…really paying attention?
Do we see the beauty of the moments – how important they truly are as building blocks to the bigger picture? Or are we only using the moments to leverage the hope of what we want for the bigger picture?
I think if we really lived each moment, really made the kinds of choices we always reserve for “the bigger picture” (the big sacrifices, the I’ll-love-you-until-I-die confessions…you get the idea) within the minutes that make our moments, we’d be more in touch with our ability to appreciate life and the love that already surrounds us.
I encourage you (and me) to realize the moments are making our life times. These small passages of time are building up and creating our story. What does your story look like?
I was listening to a Jason Mraz album the other day (which is really no different from any other day) and – for whatever reason – I zeroed in on a lyric that I’ve heard over and over again, but clearly hadn’t listened to until this particular moment:
“Love doesn’t pretend.”
Any maybe I had been listening, but maybe I just hadn’t been ready to absorb the truth of it in the same way.
We talk about telling the truth, being honest – the really bold, committed moves that happen in love between people who are moving forward together, bravely facing the world hand-in-hand.
But what about the less bold things…
The sneaky, subtle actions that happen in love.
It’s easy to pretend everything’s okay. It’s easy to pretend there isn’t anything that needs to be worked on. It’s easy to pretend you’re still in love, still willing to love; because facing the world alone is too scary.
It’s easy to pretend we’re not scared.
It’s easy to pretend we’re not miserable.
I wish the act of pretending wasn’t so easy. It’s like a mask that we can easily forget that we’ve put on…skewing our view on what is actually happening in front of our eyes. And when we don’t see things clearly, we miss out on some of the best opportunities of our lives, some of the best opportunities that happen in love.
We are celebrating the countdown to Valentine’s Day!
Keep your eyes open for promotions that will be announced on our Facebook Page.
Please note: this does not mean I recommend waiting until Valentine’s Day to express love and appreciation. If there’s someone you love or appreciation, you tell them; or grab them and kiss their face. Don’t wait around to blame it on cupid.
So, stay in touch Love Letters community! You could win an autographed copy of Book 1 in time for the Holiday – and then you can decide whether to keep it or give it away to someone you love.
With gratitude – always,
J. A. Busfield