Love Gets Good

It rained that morning.

You were full of excuses; forever the king of justifications, the king of reasons why.

That was the morning I stopped believing anyone who says the words “I wish I could, but…”

This week I sat at my favorite hotel restaurant, the one with the floor to ceiling windows and white linen tablecloths.

The dark clouds reminded me of that morning. I thought about how I always knew your coffee order and that I am almost certain you never knew mine.

I never showed up to you holding a vanilla latte.

That was what my coffee order back then. Sometimes caramel, but mostly vanilla. I can’t remember how many times I must have ordered one standing next to you, but I would be willing to bet you never noticed.

Because there are some people that never know the coffee order of the person standing next to them. Then there are those that could list the coffee orders, birthdays, and eye colors for people they’ve met only a handful of times.

As my hands wrapped around that little white mug that splashed on that white linen table cloth, I laughed that I couldn’t remember the last time I had a vanilla latte.

There are also those of us who spend years being walking apologies to someone who will never know how we take our coffee. Even after we showed up at their door with their exact order more times than we could count.

There is a temptation to be bitter, but I think I just feel sad for the person who may never know what it feels like to show up at someone’s door and know what they need even before they do. To have pulled yourself outside of your introspective mind long enough to hear someone say, skinny vanilla latte. Just long enough to store it and to think, I care about this person enough that one day, I’ll use these words.

I lived inside of my head for most of my childhood.

I didn’t realize how dark and greedy it was until I realized that I didn’t know what it was to love another outside of myself. That I never valued the thoughts of another, never truly treasured another’s feelings over my own. I lived inside a monologue with an audience of one.

That way of living and thinking never hears or cares about the coffee order of someone else, doesn’t remember birthdays, doesn’t memorize the sound of another’s laugh. It doesn’t care if someone sits alone. It never notices the pain of the person who knows your exact coffee order, who shows up on all your birthdays, who gets disappointed when you only want to converse with yourself. It only notices its own pain, its own weakness, its own feelings, its own I’m-so-exhausted-and-I-don’t-feel-like-it. It only notices its own I’m-just-not-good-at-remembering-things…

Get good.

Because love gets good.

Love gets good at making and ordering coffee (or tea) for others. It gets good at warm hugs, birthday cards, saying I still see you, I notice you. Love gets good at saying I’ll be there, gets good at getting out of bed and fighting through exhaustion to make good on that promise. Love gets good at cutting the meeting short and making it to the recital on time. Love gets good at remembering anniversaries and birthdays, because love gets good at noticing pain and wanting to avoid it the few times in life when it is possible.

Love gets good. It starts to see the joy of sacrificing our own convenience to show the depth of our affection to another.

To force our brain to remember a coffee order and a birthday. To stop and to give a hug when running late, to make eye contact when you really need to be in a meeting. To stay at the dinner table a little longer, even though the game is on.

I take my coffee differently these days: this was what I thought as I took the last sip of the morning, and left the restaurant. I wondered if you still take yours the same.

 

 

 

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Walking Down The Aisle Alone

Taking a break from Lovely Letters for a little bit, to bring you some new things. Hope you enjoy!

I’ve been afraid to look at tragedy.

I flip the channel when the news comes on. I close my eyes at dead bodies during tv shows. I leave conversations where these dark things are being discussed. I’ve been through such pain, that I’m afraid seeing even the slightest bit more will break me. I’ve created a world where I pretend it no longer exists.

So, I was in a wedding this past weekend for one of my best friends. It was the perfect setting for this fairytale world I’ve been living in. I was surrounded by such beauty, such excitement and joy. I was walking around inside of her childhood dream and it had some magical moments.

But when they assigned groomsmen to accompany the bridesmaids up the aisle, I looked around for the man they’d paired me with and he was nowhere to be found.

He couldn’t make it to the rehearsal, but they assured me he would be at the wedding.

So, when all the bridesmaids started doing their walk of honor, I stood at the base of the altar ready to make my exit and with no one standing next to me.

Mostly humored, I still felt the slightest prick at my heart. This pointed to pain I have been trying to look away from. It was messing with my imaginary world where there are no wars, no deaths, no loneliness, no shame, no insecurity…only happily ever afters. It put salt in wounds that are not quite healed.

Finally, my moment came. I took a deep breath and stepped forward, determined to walk that aisle with head held high and in laughter. I began to tell myself that all I needed to do was tweak my mindset. In this chapter of my perfect world, I was the independent, confident, strong, flawless woman who had enough flair to own that aisle. I was ready to show the world that I didn’t need anybody else.

Just as I put my game face on and took that first step, I felt someone’s arm lock with mine.

Someone had stepped in.

It was the father of the bride, a man whom I trust, who has shown me love my entire life. Without thought or provocation, he saw me in need and he did not turn his head.

Something about that moment impacted me and until this morning I couldn’t quite pinpoint it.

Stopped at a red light today, that scene played in my mind and I heard a loud whisper: be the person who steps in.

But you can’t step in if your head is turned away. You were born to step in. You were born to ease the pain of others by nothing more than showing up. There are going to be needs that you cannot meet, but you can still choose to stand up, lock arms with them and walk with them wherever they’re going.

I know it’s easier to believe that it isn’t happening or that it will take care of itself. But you’re standing right in front of a world of people walking aisles alone and you’re sitting in your chair, hoping someone else steps in.

Be the person who steps in.

You’re waiting for provocation or invitation, but there isn’t always time for that, you know. They’re about to make a move and if you don’t stand up and grab their arm right now, the moment will be gone. Don’t let them walk the aisle wondering if loneliness is all they’ll ever know.

I hope we start stepping in, showing up and locking arms. I hope we offer others some stability, maybe even do a little dance and make them laugh along the way. I hope it becomes as common as breathing. I hope that without hesitation and at every opportunity we storm the aisles with a fearless and reckless love that tells that person they’re seen and not walking alone.