Lately I’m finding that we heal one another the most in the smallest actions, the little noticing(s) — It’s not the big overtures of love that penetrate me.
After a late night skate, I’d said my goodbyes and rolled down the dark street to plop onto the curb and take my skates off. My friends turned their car around and pulled up to shine their headlights on me to ensure I had light — that I got into my car safely. “It’s just us,” they hollered, then drove off waiving once I was safely inside my car. The shields I often wear of toughness, of “I’ve got this”, not needing anyone — they fell for a moment. I wept. I’m not great at expressing the tenderness I crave. But sometimes in acute moments, I am cared for in a way that pokes holes through all that armor and love crashes in.
A friend in New York called to ask if he could pay me for a poem I’d written. He’d printed it out and framed it. He wanted me to know my work has value. The gift of knowing the words touched him was more valuable than money. “I really like it and I want to buy it,” he said, after a stream of no’s from me about accepting money. I’m rarely compensated for art. It doesn’t occur to me that someone would pay for words I’ve scribbled in the night. “Think it over,” he said.
This week my brother surprised me with a sandwich while I was out cleaning a house down the street for extra cash. I hadn’t noticed how starving I was as I was mopping. And then there he was. He fed me. Then left and went back to his work. Perfectly enough.
Love is so simple. It breaks me open in the most unassuming moments. And we can do this for one another. I’m learning how to let this in, to reciprocate it, one sandwich, one letter, one hug, one glass of water, one playlist, one text to assure someone arrived home safely at a time. I’m learning to slow down and see. How easy it is to love.
“You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; and just so you learn to love God and man by loving. Being as a mere apprentice and the very power of love will lead you on to become a master of the art.”
— Francis de Sales