If you’re me, the thing you want the most is the very thing you fear the most.
I want to be known. I do. There is something amazing about knowing that, in all the wide world, there are a precious few who know you and understand you. They get it. It’s freeing.
I want to be known. But it sure is scary once someone gets beyond the pleasant parts to the messy, more shaky, more hidden (and for good reason) parts.
During the many hours spent wandering in words — some face to face, many more with a phone clamped to my ear (much to Verizon Wireless’ delight and extreme profit this month, the bastards) — I found the friend and love I’ve wanted all my life. Our hearts thrill to the same things that are beautiful in this life — but we are different enough to keep things interesting. After all this time, I have found my match. Me. Of all people.
There is no way to do this justice. How could I have possibly known that love would find me this year? I am loved so well. I didn’t even know exactly what I needed, but here he is. Funny bordering on extremely goofy. An honest pilgrim, seeking authentic faith. A lover of words and lyrics and music and film. Master of the deadpan, off-beat joke. Writer of love-letters. Composer of poems. Patient. Generous. Steadfast. Loyal. Passionate.
And for some crazy reason, he chooses me. This works out extremely well for me, but there are times I don’t understand it.
He was here a week ago, and began to see some of the crazy that is me. We doubled over in laughter when I clumsily dropped a tub of sour cream from the refrigerator case at Albertsons and it exploded. He very gently reminded me at the gas pump that putting my debit card in the back pocket of my jeans could cause me problems finding it later. He helped me search for my keys about ten different times over the course of the weekend. He came out of my bathroom, chuckling at the fact that I don’t put the cap back on the toothpaste. Sunday night, he gladly helped me search my car for my glasses and drove back down to Red Robin with me to check the lost & found and see if I’d left them there at dinner.
Sense a pattern?
(After a headache-filled week, I finally found the glasses. Checking with Red Robin that all-important third time worked out all right for me).
Those are the kinds of messiness that cause me some embarrassment, but are still placed gently in the “cute” category, at least for now. There are other kinds of messiness that, no matter where they’re placed, are so hard for me to let another person see. Especially in the everyday, ever-growing intimacy that is ours. I am messy. I am human. I don’t like either.
There are days and sometimes weeks on end that I get so twisted up into knots over the craziness that is cubicle land, I am a teary disaster. It’s easy for life’s out-of-whack moments to really throw me off for far longer than they should. When this happens, I like to stick my head in the sand and not move for a while. (This rarely helps matters). When relationships get bumpy, I am drained of all energy until I can find resolution and peace. Sometimes I’m the reason the war drags on. When it comes to supporting others, I am far more likely to offer words than an ear. I easily forget that sometimes it’s not a feisty defender that’s needed, just a soft shoulder.
Some days I can’t talk myself out of my own causeless melancholy.
There is something beautiful about a person promising to be there in good moments and bad, but there is also something truly terrifying in knowing that another person bears witness to your life. They see it all.
Days like today, I find myself once again face-to-face with some of my haunting demons, some of my bloodied brick walls. Love is at my door and I find myself wishing I could get myself a little more together first, like someone with a cluttered house and unexpected guests, or a woman whose date arrived before she has her face on. I’m so sorry… Just let me put that away. Um… Just let me finish getting myself together. Just ten more minutes, okay? I wish I could present a better me sometimes.
But — life does not wait for you to have it together, and neither does love. Love walks right on in the door and helps you clean up your junk. It grabs you and kisses you hard, make-up or no. It says, “I know you feel messy. I know you’re scared. Buddy — I’m in. For the good and the bad.”
I really hope that as time goes on, I grow. Not only in the areas of my life that are still messy, but in knowing that some parts of me will always be less than what I want them to be. In the meantime, I am learning to be braver. I am learning to let love in and to lean when I need to. Learning to let myself be loved just as much for what I am not (or not yet) as for what I am.
I am learning to be known. It is humbling and it is shaky, but it is so, so right.
It is grace.