I am quite certain there is only one. The same one in all the lives and movies and books and letters. The same one that fits the experience of all human beings who stood with their own profound loneliness, allowed themselves to experience the fullness of their own terrible fears, and crossed beyond all that…because of all that…to embrace true love.
We don’t all arrive in this world in a cradle of connection and peace. I’m not sure anyone does. What I know for sure is that we all struggle in our own ways…with demons real and imagined, with brokenness, with restlessness and impatience, with questions for which often there are no answers except the asking of more questions and the finding of that delicate balance between the mystery and the certainty we need in order to live in the world.
So then, how does one find words to describe that beautiful and necessary love story which is the only thing that can enable us to, once again, become what we are in essence…which is love…?
Often, we find that description in the gift of another’s words…words that mirror our own voice and experience. I found such words just the other day in the quotes and poems by Christopher Poindexter. We can switch names, swap “he” for “she”, blue eyes for brown or green, the sea for meadows or mountains. It makes no difference. In the end, it’s the same story.
And it begins with discomfort, loneliness and fear, the fundamental struggle…
“I am filled with things and I battle feelings
I have never wanted to exist inside of me.
I lack too much confidence and I carry too
much sadness and my body is full of stars
that never learned their name. I wear my
insecurities like pockets and I fill them
with my fears and my hands are growing tired
from reaching down into them to hold the
feeling of being afraid. I am afraid. Always
afraid. Afraid like chimes when the winds lips
are sealed. Afraid like your eyes when the stars
fall asleep in the black. Afraid like dreams
when they realize they are just dreams and that
reality is that one scar that will never
I am, terrified. Terrified that the things
inside me are the things that will keep me
from ever finding a home inside someone
“Sometimes, I sit alone under the stars
and think of the galaxies inside my
heart, and truly wonder if anyone will
ever want to make sense of all that
And then, suddenly, unexpectedly, someone appears…
“I am always
I think that’s
what love is:
rebirth over and
over and over
every single day
like the sun
when it explodes
into the calm
of his heartbeat,
and in a matter of seconds
fell terribly in love
with the way
her loneliness fell
softly and suddenly,
in his chest.”
Yes, that necessary someone who helps us understand and love what is necessary to our own being within ourselves…
“It was like watching
the sun set over an
exhausted horizon; seeing
her fall softly asleep in
I always felt this connection
between her and the universe,
like every time I experienced her,
I was experiencing the universe.
It was something I could never shake.
Something I could never fathom into
even the most delicate words.”
“She was constantly intrigued by things
Most people never think about,
That is why I needed her –
To be the things I couldn’t.”
It is not so strange that what is real and necessary should frighten us so. Especially this, this most necessary of things that allows no dishonesty, no deception…that throws us naked into a complete trusting of ourselves and another…while the whole world, our bad experiences and statistics shout that it can not be…that we do not deserve such beauty, joy or peace…that we are broken and sick, and must resign ourselves to the fact that all we can hope to find are shatterings…
“You want me to be completely honest?
I, always, have been terrified
of love. To slow dance with bliss
and the prevailing chance of complete
misery. Knowing that, it will either
save me or it will cripple me.
For if there is one thing beautiful
in this crumbling world: It is love.
The curling of souls.
But god, if there is one thing
horrific in it, too,
then it is mostly surely loving
something with your entirety
only to have it all vanish
away within the hit
of a second.”
How then not to fear? We can only go beyond the fear by loving, and yet to love we have to go beyond the fear…
I was afraid
Not just love,
but to love her.
For she was a stunning
mystery. She carried things
deep inside her that no one
has yet to understand,
I was afraid to fail,
like the others.
She was the ocean
and I was just a boy
who loved the waves
but was completely
But there are ways to rise above what is apparently impossible. There are those moments shared, unmeasured blessings and questions…important ones…that are answered.
“Do you feel that?”
She asked as we watched
the stars and moon illuminate
the sea before us.
“Tell me you feel it?
that longing to not just exist,
but to live and to live beautifully?”
I, with a smile filled with so
much truth it could move
the clouds, said to her:
“Of course I feel it. The heart
in you, is the heart in me.”
“Love is many things and
sometimes we are never
really sure if it even
exists, but all I know
is that if you were to
show me her soul
in a photograph,
I wouldn’t even ask
To see the others.”
And in the end…or actually in the beginning…
“She wiped the black spilling
from her eyelashes onto her cheek,
and in that moment, I wanted, I
needed, for magic to exist.
I wanted to peel back her lonely
skin and feel her sadness stare
straight into the blue inside my eyes.
I wanted and I needed it to know,
that I, I loved her too, and my god
I, I would fight for her.”
“…I knew in that moment
that it is and it will
always be the simple things
that plant the most
A few years ago, I had the privilege to witness a few moments in the beautiful living of a necessary love story. I was at the grocery store, watching a married couple in their 80’s. I noticed she had a small, simple vintage diamond ring. She also had a walker. He was hunched over. They stopped for a moment to talk about their grocery list. He got a cart. She giggled as he helped put her walker in the cart, and then tenderly swept a wisp of white hair from her face. And off they went, so very slowly down one of the aisles, arm in arm. But not before they kissed and smiled at each other.
I stood there mesmerized. How amazing love can be…it transforms everything. And I thought what a gift it is to find someone not to grow old with, but to grow young with like this. Because they were so young.
These two souls did not simply exist. They had lived and were living beautifully together. I’m certain they had their fierce arguments and terribly difficult moments over the years. Surely he too was once terrified of swimming, as we all are. And she, of being an ocean. But not anymore, not for quite a while. He had clearly remained a boy, and she was obviously his ocean, one that took care to keep him safe as he swam, while his presence gently softened even the greatest of waves within her.
And so here they were, on a random day in a random grocery store, still dancing together as they had done for a very, very long time. They were so necessary…to themselves and each other. To me, to all of us. Such living and loving are so necessary.
I wished it then as I do now…that we may all get to dance and grow young like this…and do our gifts and fears alike justice in the sharing.