Thursday, September 22, 2011

you have to love to be loved

not be lovable. not be lovely. not even be loving, per se. just love.

i know this seems like a random post on a random thursday on a random month of an extremely random year. (at least i hope it’s all random, lest i spiral into the “why do bad things happen to good people” spiel…)

but facebook will let you use only so many characters. and frankly, i’m a bit annoyed with facebook anyway these days. or at least i think i am, and then i see a friend’s status, which says something about making homemade chicken and taking the family on an evening picnic to watch the sunset. this friend of mine, whom i have barely spent any time with in person, is insanely awesome. in my group of “cool girls i would love to be more like,” she is definitely at the top of the list. i have to watch it, actually, or i worry i will seem like a stalker tossing out my unabashed adoration for her.

so this status, it didn’t make me insane like these types of declarations sometimes do. sometimes these updates make me angsty, insecure, moody. no, this one just made me sigh and think, that sounds really lovely.

then this morning i saw the string of comments, and after someone applauded her for “being a good mom,” she wrote back “haha, it was a disaster. oh well.”

and i almost cried. no, silly, not because her picnic was a disaster. but because i get overwhelmed with the circle of friends i have. i know, i already said i have spent, oh, maybe 72 hours total with this girl, so it seems weird even to me to call her friend sometimes. we never email back and forth. but i feel connected to her. weird, maybe, but oh so true.

so after i told myself that i refuse to cry over something like this, that it’s ridiculous, i will get a sinus headache, then i had a moment of clarity, or a moment of goodness, or of warm fuzziness, where just in thinking of all the people to whom i’m connected--the good, beautiful, lovely, creative, gentle, thoughtful, messy people--i felt like i was wrapped in a warm blanket.

and then it occurred to me: i have to give love to be loved. i mean, i guess technically not really. but when i think about all the people to whom i feel deeply connected right now, the people who, just sometimes by updating a facebook page or posting a picture on instagram, make me smile and help me get through the day, i have to say that it is in giving love and making an effort to be connected that i feel the most connected back to them.

i’m not saying that i have done all the work in connecting to people. in fact, i can tell you about one friend in particular, a very accomplished violinist who is by far one of the loveliest people i’ve ever known, who works very hard to stay connected to me, even when i fail her. she sends me handwritten notes and checks in on me even though we are in different life stages and hearing about my kids probably would bore her to death--she still asks.

but i think as we grow up, we are more afraid to take risks. we hide because we think no one will love our exposed parts. we blame it on busyness, on geographical location, on lack of common interests.

there is beauty in this breakdown, though. in my own breakdown. and in sharing it with other people, with reaching out and loving other people, this is when i feel the most loved. 


  1. i'm deeply moved by this post. i wish i had deeper things to say at the moment, but i feel emotionally spent. really, i just want to agree with you on two things:

    1) "i have to say that it is in giving love and making an effort to be connected that i feel the most connected back to them."

    amen. when i'm not making an effort to engage with people i know (and the goodness/realness in them, that drew me to knowing them in the first place) it's so easy to feel adrift in the mean-spiritedness in the world. it's easy to consume information, be a bystander and observer of the world around me and become deeply disturbed/depressed/annoyed by it all. but the act of interaction, of engaging(even if in typed words) is historically proven to be my great antidote to consumption and angst.

    2) "but i think as we grow up, we are more afraid to take risks."

    and therein lies the problem. i know the antidote, but the older i get, and the more life i live as a result, makes it increasingly difficult to remember the antidote. and to remember its power to heal and restore.

    thanks for choosing to engage with us by sharing these thoughts. xo.

  2. The internet is both a lovely and a terrible thing but don't sweat the small stuff. And, sharing let's us in on knowing what's behind the door. I bet there is a bigger something there that really made you upset. And sometimes you just have to open that door and come out. It's okay to be vulnerable.

    Well, there is a reason I stop by here. And it is because you reached out to me one day and those little things I think well they matter. When someone reaches out their hand you take it, right?

  3. I have missed you. And somehow missed this post. It is hard sometimes to remember to give the love. When I am in a down place, it is almost like I expect people to know and reach out to me. And when they don't I tend to withdraw (the opposite of what I need to do). Like I said, I miss you. And I wish I could reach out to you across the dining room table right now.