Love and Fear

The other day my daughter was talking to me about her husband’s current fears. She’s pregnant and after having lost their first child early on in that pregnancy, her husband was letting fear get the best of him. He wouldn’t let her tell anyone about the new baby, nothing could be bought in anticipation of the birth, no names discussed, no dreams were allowed to spin in their heads. Every day he drew the “safe” line farther into the sand. Let’s wait till this day, well let’s wait till after this appointment.. but as each day passed, he couldn’t let go and believe. She finally said to him, we’re missing the journey. The day will come that our child is in our arms and we’ll look back and say, we missed the fun of the journey and we can’t get time back. We’ll be tired and changing diapers and in the thick of life and will have missed beautiful moments. Just let go.
So today I’m thinking about love. How to define it. How it has so many levels and nuances. How far out do you have to throw the “safe” line. And why does something that really defines the essence of God to me have so many rules? I’ve stepped onto a quiet beach in St. Thomas and thought to myself, I love this place. I felt peace and beauty and rest in my soul. I’ve sat on a porch eating lunch with my mother in the countryside of Italy and thought to myself, I love this moment. I felt peace and beauty and rest in my soul. They were fleeting moments, they were love at first meeting, but it was perfectly acceptable to really feel the love in those moments. No one would say to me, no, you couldn’t possibly ‘love’ that one day on one beach. Yet when we throw out the word love to describe a feeling for a person, it isn’t acceptable. Suddenly referees appear throwing foul flags. 
I know that I have so much life to explore with him. I barely know him. I know how real life unveils the mask and dims the stars in your eyes. I know that sexual pleasure creates oxytocin which leads to endorphins being released. A chemical stew that makes you happy. It feels like love. I can’t possibly say I love you to a man I barely know. But there are these moments when I’m with him that have nothing at all to do with the sexual pleasure he gives me. Feelings different than I’ve ever felt. I’m finding peace and beauty and rest in my soul. In those moments, fear steps in, referees are throwing flags around the bed and I hold so tight to the words that want to pass through my lips. In those moments, I’m feeling love. It has a depth I’ve never encountered. It’s like a rip tide pulling me in. It’s like my soul is greeting someone familiar to it. It is beyond my mind and body. I don’t want fear to make me miss the journey. I’m fully aware we may not be forever. I’m fully aware we have a long way to go. I’m fully aware he may not feel the same. But just as when I stepped from the beautiful porch in the Italian countryside and never returned there again, it doesn’t take away the gift of the moment or make it an illusion. If last night was the last time I ever lay underneath him and feel ‘love’, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t a real moment and I didn’t feel it.  
Perhaps in this part of my life, I’m supposed to learn about letting go of fear. Believing instead of continually throwing out the “safe” line farther and farther to keep my heart safe. Perhaps love has many meanings. Many levels. Perhaps it is ok to take those moments and tell the referees to pack up their flags and move to someone playing more foolish games who may really need them. Just let go. The worst that can happen is that it ends. Enjoy the journey.

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