a little excited old lady
frazzled in more than one sense of the word
her crazy curls and crazy words
spilled out all upon my front porch
that was the day
the day, she said, when i had been crying
when it was uncontrollable,
i felt too much
i felt everything all at once
my brokenness and inadequacy
my failures turning to apathy
but there she was and there i stood
her words she spoke rushed and in spurts
it was quick, but i didn’t need to listen
i didn’t need words, to hear what was said.
in disbelief and confused
one so powerful but far away
in that moment became true
he called me beloved
and i knew his love was true
it was for me, me alone,
and at that, she smiled, as her eyes
glossed over, in gladness she looked
at me and said,
i have never felt so loved.
There have been a few women in my life, I could probably count them on my fingers, who have been more than mere women to me; they are inspirations, they are love, they are soul, with compassion, care, gentleness, and wisdom they are full. Now one of these women in particular just happens to sit at the desk not to far from me. She has taught me many things, has watched me cry when I couldn’t understand, and has told me the greatest stories of all time. She makes fun of my hair, I make fun of her age. It is a beautifully dysfunctional relationship that I am so incredibly grateful for. From the big to the small, I feel like there has been a time where we talked about it all.
Now, I have never been very good at having friends. Female friends are hard. I have offended, ignored, and done nothing at all and have been reprimanded for it all. I don’t paint my nails, I really am not the slumber party type, I could care less about your boy drama, and don’t even get me started on Magic Mike. Girls take time, care, comfort, and an incredible amount of effort so when you are like me (a girl who has on several occasions been asked if I even have a heart, yup just like the tin man) it can be exhausting. It is not that I don’t care, I really really do, but I care about the people, the hearts, but evidently that is something that has not always come through. So I have been practicing, been learning, and have been really trying to connect, to learn, and invest in relationships not only how I want to.
I am finding ways, little ways, that I can make this work. To one friend I speak Spanish, to another I sew, you get the idea: I am trying to grow. I really like to write, I have always found the most power and encouragement in words, it’s just the way my brain works. There’s a special effort and commitment in letters and words. It’s beautiful yet simple and something I know I can do.
The other day this was put to the test. I have been asking for strength, for understanding, for a sensitivity to love that I see in so many of these women. I have been hoping that one day, I could love like they love. So of course, it happened. I had to do something. Great.
I walked in to work, I really didn’t feel very great. Not physically, my temperatures were normal and my body was fine, the state of discomfort came from my mind. I didn’t want to be there. I had no purpose, nothing important to do. (One could argue this for every day of my job) This day was exceptionally dull, however, and I really wasn’t sure why I was there or what I was going to do in order to make it through. I started those eight painstaking hours as I often do, a quick cup of tea, checking my mailbox, and while my computer warms up I make my rounds. There are very few teachers but I wave hello to two. Then others, you get the idea. In this I noticed my coworker had been crying, not currently, but it was clear her hurting wasn’t through. I didn’t pry but when I asked her she wasn’t about to lie. She was not doing well. I didn’t know what to do.
I retreated to my head. In this situation most people would hug, yes? I am not much of a hugger and if I tried I would realize how long my arms are. She is sitting down, I am standing up. Where do my arms go? My hands are so big. How long do I hold? Do I pat on the back or is that something you only do if you are old? Do I enter like the “bros,” wait, no, that is not cool. What if she isn’t a hugger too? By this point in my thought process I realize it has probably been too long and so the hug would be out of place.
I am not a hugger.
Clearly, the hug was not going to be a good call. We spoke a few words and I went back to my desk. It sat on my heart. I didn’t know what to do. I got out a notepad and a few words came through. I wrote and wrote and wrote (I colored a little too). I gave her the note, or rather left it on her desk anonymously because I am a coward and that is awkward to give people notes telling them that you love them. It’s weird and definitely not something I’d do. So sneakily, with a little stealth and perfect timing, I slid the note on to her desk (I sound like a dweeby middle schooler, but I swear it’s not like that). She told me thank you, that she needed it, that prayers were answered. It really wasn’t a big deal. I had to do something, I didn’t know why, but it was right in my mind.
I have to tell you something she says
no more tears this time
you could have no idea
why I was crying
“see there I go again”
(as the tears in her eyes begin)
your words, the way they were written
of a story I need to tell you
it has only happened twice
but those two times have been
so incredibly powerful that I can no longer doubt
my identity as beloved
the spirit continues to be a voice of love.
I told her she was crazy
she told me I had no clue
how much love. how cared for
I couldn’t believe
What she had seen.
There are moments, thoughts we have, as humans in a scary and terrifying world where we realize our pain, our failures, our inadequacy. Her and I are very alike in that. We look to people for comfort, for acceptance, for approval and love because of our efforts, our ability, and our actions. There are days, months, and even years though were those actions aren’t enough, I might argue they never are. We search, seek, and look for love because what we have, what we are doing is never enough.
That all changed for me.
Twice, she said, I have been so explicitly reminded that I carry an identity. I am the beloved. I don’t have to be loved by the efforts or actions because the love I have is bigger. She spoke of a big love, a love so big, but so personal. A love that was so grand but so close. It wasn’t far away. It is a love you can touch, a love to hold, but to never grasp. Something that doesn’t make sense, that is bigger than we are and that is better than we can.
She told me of a time when a little lady brought her flowers. All they said was I love you, that’s all the little old lady knew. In this moment, she said, she knew the love was bigger than she thought and she knew the love was true. Words scribbled on a notepad can do that too. When you are obedient and you listen to what your heart is telling you to. You will become a picture of a bigger love and others will see that love in you. That was the second time when I knew. I am the beloved. When he told me, my beloved is you. I had asked for a word, because he had done it before, and in your note, I knew his love was true.
If you are ever wondering where your identity lies. It is there. It is in my crazy stories. The stories I don’t share often. The ones from when I was bawling out my eyes. I am of a love that is big, of a love that is true. I doesn’t make sense. It seems a bit crazy too, but the love of all the universe cares just for you, and if you have a hard time accepting it just pray he reveals it to you.
This was just something cool that happened today in conversation. Ask me about the full story some time because it really is quite a doozy, and I think you should probably hear it too.