Three people who matter to me expressed fear about one of their human relationships in separate conversations this past week.
Friend #1 is worried about her troubled marriage. And she has gone so far as to say that if it doesn’t work out, she will never marry again. She doesn’t believe she would be able to trust another human being with her heart.
Friend #2 is in a three-month relationship with someone she met recently. He has swept her off her feet. She’s more in love with him than even she will admit. But now that her feelings are so strong, she’s asking herself: Does he care about me as much as I care about him? She’s in the relationship phase of overanalyzing situations without having all the facts and letting anxiety over the unknown ruin her day.
Friend #3 is gun shy about a new man in her life because she’s been burnt before.
“I loved a douchebag that fucked me over. I never saw it coming,” she said. “It’s the fear of letting the wall down. I don’t want to go through that pain again to which I am sure you can relate.”
And she’s right. I can.
I’ve never been more fearful of so many things as I am right now. It’s funny. I remember thinking how brave I’d be as an adult. We’re so cute and stupid when we’re young.
A Fall Down the Stairs
I was in front of my upstairs bathroom sink brushing my teeth yesterday. My five-year-old son was running around with his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-branded Raphael sai taking out invisible bad guys who’d invaded our second floor.
“I’m going downstairs, dad!” he said.
A couple seconds later, I heard the horrific sound of 50 pounds of human tumbling down hardwood stairs.
I’d never moved that fast before. Within five seconds he was in my arms at the bottom of the stairs, not yet able to speak.
I sat him on a couch, looking him over and asking him where it hurt.
He had a couple subtle marks on his knees and shins. But otherwise? He appeared completely fine.
He had gone down head first. He wouldn’t tell me how it happened. And it doesn’t matter because I’m quite sure he’ll never try it again.
It’s a praise-Jesus miracle he didn’t lose some teeth, or worse.
I just hugged him, thanking God for his safety.
Here’s my point: I was six feet away from him. And I couldn’t stop something bad from happening to him. Something that could have been catastrophic had he bounced differently.
He is the thing I love the most in this world. I know all of you parents know exactly what I’m talking about.
But should being afraid of the bad things that might happen to him in his life frighten me, or others, away from bringing children into this world?
Wouldn’t that be the greater tragedy?
Allow Yourself to Love
For the purposes of this conversation, you have two choices:
- Deny yourself the best things about being alive because you’re afraid to lose them.
- Love anyway. Take the leap of faith, knowing you’re not always going to land safely on the other side, but that every time you do, you’ll experience unadulterated joy.
We cannot escape this particular truth about the human experience. No one gets out of it.
If you love something hard enough, you’re going to fear losing it.
We’re always going to be afraid of losing our children, our partners, our parents, our pets, our money, our jobs, our possessions, our homes or our friends.
If you’re the kind of person afraid to lose a child, then you’re EXACTLY the kind of person we need raising them.
Pet owners, are you really going to never have another dog or cat because you were broken up by the loss of a former pet? Don’t these other animals deserve your love too? Don’t they deserve the opportunity to love you back? I understand wanting to protect yourself. You have no idea how much so.
Scorned lovers, don’t let your hearts be hardened. Because you can give a brand of love to a deserving soul that they may have never otherwise known. It’s terrifying. I know. Putting yourself out there again. But what are you going to do? Walk this world alone? Do you really want to be that selfish? If you won’t do it for you, do it for that other person out there who needs you.
Because somewhere, right now, there’s a person out there—a good, wonderful, deserving person—who needs you. And they might not even know it yet.
People like you. People like me.
The most beautiful things in this world are precious and rare.
Not everything in this life was built to last. Things will break.
You can either hide from life. Or embrace it. The good and the bad.
I’m afraid too.
Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. It just means you don’t let it stop you.
So, please, love anyway.