I sometimes wander through life oblivious to the impact I have on others, and the impact they have on me. I get caught up in my routines, and work and chores fill up my days. I lose focus on what I am really all about and what I am here to do and to be.
A few weeks ago, I received a gift of love and thanks from a young man I’ve been spending time with.
He’s not had it easy, and often feels his life is on hold, that he is stuck for a while, not able to move ahead. But, the work he is doing, real soul work, is shaping and honing him into a beautiful person, filled with compassion and love. In that, he is successful and brilliant, and wise.
He is a student, and becoming the teacher. I should thank him for being an inspiration to me, to being my friend, to allow me to come share time with him, and watch him grow. He has taught me much, and he has given me much joy and satisfaction. He’s let me sit in the front row, when he walks out on the stage of life and pours out his heart.
He’s written a song, a bit about me and what we are together, but it goes so much deeper, and wider.
When he sings me his song, and puts to music and words, and, yes, into love, his feelings and emotions and gratitude, I am moved. I feel loved. I feel appreciated, recognized, validated. But, most of all, I feel loved.
Love. That word is hard for him. It is also hard for me. When I was a kid, I didn’t hear that word much, and I floundered around with what it meant to me, and how important it was in my life, or not. This inner turmoil festered in me for many years. I rejoice that the dragons and monsters my young friend has called out, named, and wrestled with. In his journey, he is farther down that trail than most of us.
When I hear him struggle, I hear my own struggle, my own uncertainty, my own grief for not knowing love, for questioning what life is all about, and what I here to do. We grieve over death, and loss. Yet, for me, the hardest grief is not knowing love.
Being able to express love, and to fully accept the power and the satisfaction there is in life when unconditional love is a practiced value, is much of the story of my life.
My friends’s song says you love yourself and you love me. It brings all that love-not-spoken dark dialogue back up, again and again. The song felt good, soothing some long time aches and pains, and holes. When he sings, some old, musty dark holes in me get filled up, and I feel warm, complete.
I’ve had a lot of hungry young people in my life, and they all struggle with that love word. We all do, and the search for that feeling of completeness and acceptance often takes a lifetime of tears, yearning, and struggle.
There’s a lot of running away, in life, from love, being loved, and loving others. We run to self medication, self deprecation, self loathing. We push others down or away from our own needy hearts, just so we don’t have to accept love from ourselves and love from others.
If we are loved, then we must be worthy of love. And, that is really hard, to feel worthy of love, when those we respect and admire have told us we really aren’t worthy of love.
I get all of that. I understand that, and I’ve lived around that and in that. That dilemma, that agony, that need, all of that also is in my life, and my world.
I’ve learned that love has many meanings and many dimensions. Love is like the sparkle of a diamond, and each sparkle in the light has a different nuance, even a different meaning entirely.
I don’t need to hear the “love” word to know that there is love. I am old and wise enough now to just know that love is there, without calling its name.
His song is all of that. His song is from his heart. And, that is the gold and the diamonds in my life, and in his life, too.
He knows all this, and he knows it in his heart. And, when he sings it to me, I cry, and in seeing my tears, he knows he has told me what he wants me to know.
My friend reminds me I need to go deep inside, and call out the dragons and the monsters in my basement, to rummage around the dark forces in my life, and find my own emotions and strengths. In that tough work, I rediscover the treasures of unconditional love.
I hope he realizes that his words, his music, his expression, and his acceptance and his savoring of what he does in all that, is not only a gift, but it is a treasure that he already knows that he has. In that, he is blessed.
When you can accept love and when you can give love, when you can share your real loving self, in all its facets, you are truly blessed.
— Neal Lemery 11/10/2012