A few weeks ago, I found this little line sandwiched in my e-mail.
I hate to say that I’ve given up on love, but I’m getting close to throwing in the towel. I just don’t know what to do.-B
Dear Sweet B,
I hate vacations.
I don’t really know any other person on the planet that can say that. The few people who have actually heard me say these words out loud can’t ever seem to keep their jaw from hitting the floor.
But I do, I hate vacations.
There’s something about them that haunts me. Leaving my life behind—-the thing I’m working so hard at, the people I’m investing so much in. It’s like for a week (or however long I’m supposed to lay on a beach somewhere) I’m telling them that just for the next little bit, I need a break from them.
I hate that. I hate indirectly telling everything in my life that it’s just a little too much for me to handle right now.
I hate it, but just recently, I took a different kind of vacation. I tried to take a little time away from love and from my emotions.
They told me they were weakness, they told me to get a grip. People told me that to feel is to be fractured. Love comes with a whole lot of feelings, B. Sometimes, you choose it despite your feelings, but there are feelings involved just the same. Sometimes they’re wonderful, exciting or precious, other times they are painful and costly.
But you know what I discovered? It’s better to feel everything, to know the good, scary, sadness, messiness than to feel nothing. Whatever you do, whatever your situation becomes, B… don’t ever choose to be numb.
Trust me on this, take these words and pin them somewhere in your heart. If you choose to be numb, you’ll spend days and hours and weeks of your life wishing that you could get back to the pain and to the frustration because at least you felt SOMETHING.
I know because for a long time, I chose to be numb. I threw in the towel and I threw it hard. I walked away and just like the country song I said, “I’m giving up on love, ’cause love’s given up on me.”
It was the worst decision I’ve ever made. Above all the dorky moments, screw-ups, saying things I wish I could take back, hurting others, the thing I regret most was the day I chose to stop feeling it. I let my heart become a switch and I became the master at turning it off.
Imagine being twenty-two years old and unaffected by the world around you; a beautiful sunset, a hug, Christmas morning. Things that used to make me come alive had become like the credits at the end of the movie. They exist, but don’t grab my attention; they just pass right in front of my eyes, unappreciated and downright boring.
Whatever you do, don’t stop having a sense of wonder, a heart of hope. Don’t take a vacation from love. Don’t go pitch your umbrella in a place of solitude and tell her that she is just too much to handle.
Choose to stay with love, whatever that takes. Whatever it costs you, don’t walk away.
Love hasn’t given up on you, I’m quite certain of that. If you were here in this little cafe, I would just sigh and watch the way the light floods the booth we’d be here sitting in.
I would tell you that you are stronger than giving up.
If you weren’t, you wouldn’t have stayed, you wouldn’t have chosen to love as long as you have. The cowards, the weak, they never even give love a try. You are better than sitting down in your pain and choosing to never get back up.
The truth is, when it comes to love, you can’t ever really take a “vacation”. Once you do, you almost entirely forget how to come back to her again. It gets so easy to sit in your little chair by the water of apathy and self-preservation. You will continuously decide it’s not worth coming home to, you’d rather just choose what seems the easier life to lead.
But then will come a day when the chair makes you stiff, the winds get a little too cold. You will vaguely remember that there used to be a rhythm inside of your chest. You’ll miss all the times you danced to it, all the ways it brought you joy. Then you will try to pack up your little chair and go home to it again.
And you can, it’s not impossible, but it’s a long journey. It’s a hard one, it’s like learning to walk all over again. It’s like trying to remember 9th grade Algebra years after graduation.
There will be a moment when you’ll walk in the door and realize that the lights were turned off, the water doesn’t run and you have nothing in the fridge. It will be a process of having to pay what is long overdue, of having to restock the fridge. Love is still there, and she waited for you, but you didn’t take care of her while you were gone. It will take you making some steps to getting things back to where they were (and hopefully even better).
It can be done, B; but I don’t want you to leave her. Don’t run away in your little car and hope that if and when you decide to come back, you’ll pick up where you left off. She will always wait for you, but she may not be so easy to embrace when you walk back through those doors. The ruins of selfishness will be painful to look upon.
Sometimes, you’ll need a vacation, but take her with you, Sweet B. Let her heal the pain, the wounds, the scars that come from the broken trust or disappointed hopes.
B, love is your greatest friend, your most trustworthy partner. Sometimes we all need some time away, but please don’t leave love behind.
There’s not a day in your life that will be worth living without her.
I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!
Lovely Letters is a new series I’m starting that will happen every Wednesday! I’ve gotten such an amazing e-mail response from many of my readers and I try to respond to as many as I can directly; and some of them have inspired me to share thoughts and ideas on my blog. You guys seriously inspire me and what you’re going through is universal and I think other people need to hear that they’re not alone.
So… if you’re interested in inspiring the next Lovely Letters post, send me an e-mail and let me know what’s going on in your life. I absolutely love hearing from all of you!