It struck me, driving in the car and looking out the window, how wonderfully full my life is. The way you feel after you’ve eaten a large and filling meal, like Thanksgiving. Full of love and friendship and stories and hope and life.
Wow, I have so much to be thankful for. And trust me, I am. But tonight, I don’t come to you feeling full and peaceful. I come to you empty handed, and a little sheepish. Because I swore I’d never be back in this place.
Because I told myself I wanted a different way of life.
Because in the face of beauty and meaning and adventure, I am afraid.
Fear isn’t allowed anymore. Not this kind of fear. Some fears are healthy, like when you hear someone behind you and your whole body tenses up to fight. But none of this bone-aching worry and dread that permeate your ability to live a life of meaning. I swore this off for every Lent for all of eternity, and every day beyond.
He doesn’t scare me because he’s not what I want. He scares me because he’s everything I’ve ever wanted. And that’s the scariest thing, getting everything you ever dreamed of. Because I’m not sure I’ll be able to forgive myself if I mess this up.
It terrifies me, this risk of loving. There is so much to lose.
But there is also so much to gain.
I’ve been taught my whole life that the other shoe always drops, and I’ve grown pretty good at playing the skeptic. I’ve kept my distance, waiting for that shoe to drop. Waiting and waiting and waiting. Months have gone by. It’ll happen any day now, I tell myself.
And the shoe still hasn’t dropped.
What if it never does?
What if he really is everything I know him to be? What if he really is a man I can trust, who can be my best friend and make me laugh and dare to take my hand, even though he knows the tears might come? And oh, they will. Because my heart can’t handle joy without cracking in the process.
I’m happy and I’m sad, in the most bittersweet sort of way, and it almost feels like there’s some grieving that needs to be done for younger Me. The girl who wasn’t treated right by men, who was only used but never loved.
Poor, sweet girl. It gets better, I promise.
Because one day there will be a boy who has been there all along who will tell you that he wants to love you. He’s willing to take the risk, because he believes you might be worth it.
You have nothing to offer him, I promise you. You’ll want to believe that you do, but the hard truth is that he doesn’t need you. And when you’re so used to only being needed, at first you’ll feel a little like you have nothing to offer. What could he possibly want? Is just being me really enough? Is it really possible that he could just want me, for everything that I am?
Yes. It is absolutely possible.
And oh, darling girl, you have so many adventures ahead of you. I pray that you’ll find the courage to stop waiting for the shoe to drop. Stop making your pro-con lists. It’s just a shoe.
Let it fall.