"Rachael Maddox! You are awesome! You always have been. Even when you're slightly crazy. Do you know that? You should know that. I know you know that."
He tosses these words to me through the back porch door, as he swings his leg over his bicycle. His voice projects, and I know Jen can hear him through her bedroom window. She's smiling, probably, at the sound of emphatic love. My belly gets those butterflies again. The ones that tell me someone really sees me. That I'm as alive as I think I am. That my joy is not an illusion. That this life is real.
I've been thinking about this a lot lately... how we are not islands. How we do nothing alone. Not even our loneliness. How we cannot separate ourselves from all of life. How the motion of everything affects us. We try... sometimes really, really hard, to be unaffected. But it's impossible to stay that still. It's impossible to be completely hardened. That's why we feel tortured by the things we "cannot" accept. Because our bodies want to dance with the motion, but our minds are resisting the mystery and discomfort of where that dance may lead us. We're going against the flow.
I'm learning that the secret of relationships... and not just with people, but with everything around us and within us... is to follow the mystery. To stay curious about where things could go if we stayed loose and did not harden out of fear. This openness is vulnerable. It's dangerous. It could yield unwanted results. And it's also an immense declaration of Trust. The kind of Trust that sustains power, that fuels decades of togetherness, that claims confidence and births reckless joy.
There is someone in my life who has taught me universes about this practice. His name is Brian. He's a love warrior and a master of the Declaration of Trust. He loves me unconditionally, sometimes so much that it hurts. He and his trust make endless space for me and my freedom. I try to practice the same for him. Even with all our imperfections, this sort of exchange is no small deal. It's not something to take for granted (even though, I sometimes do). It's something to sing for, to write about, to kiss from head to toe. So I am.
Let me say it loud and clear here and now: Brian Justin Ward you are the greatest gift I've ever received. You give me stability, a sense of sanity, a home--from which I can venture out into the world and explore. But you're more than just safe. You're also a playmate, a lover, a fellow adventurer who's up for the full experience of what it means to be alive. You're a risk taker. You don't shirk back. You lean into the fire. You do shit even when you're scared. All the time. And I see it. I see the warrior in you. The quiet one and the vibrant one and the tired one and the goofy one. I see you and I love you and I thank you. Your vulnerability blows me away. I couldn't be who I am without you. I couldn't be in this particular practice that's so rich and fulfilling. Yes--there'd be other practices, other adventures. But I'm so honored I'm on this one with you. I choose this--I choose you, over and over again.
Sweet friends out there--who or what do you want to honor today? What sustains you from the inside, out? It's so easy to think ourselves islands. But we are not. None of us. So let those relationships know... don't wait another moment. Honor them. You know just how.