For those who’ve been following my story, you know how big a deal my next statement is going to be. For those who haven’t, you can catch up here and here. Go ahead, I’ll wait. In the meantime, here’s a fun fact that’ll be relevant later: “When geese fly together, each goose provides additional lift and reduces air resistance for the goose flying behind it. Consequently, by flying together in a v-formation, scientists estimate that the whole flock can fly about 70% farther with the same amount of energy than if each goose flew alone.” (source)
Now that you’re all in the loop, here it is: I’m in love. I’m on a cloud. Singing in the rain. And it’s true what they say, the songs really do all start to make sense. I never thought they would. I was fully resigned to being ‘wed’ to my 1000 cats, old and alone. For so long I’d felt unworthy of anyone’s love and attention, it took a real special guy to break through that barrier and reach me. We’ll call him Barnaby for the purpose of this post, seeing as the name I use here is a pen name as well. He likes cats, and he likes Reese’s, and staying up late to watch my crazy weird shows, and most of all—he likes me. My odd quirks, my stupid sass, my awkward moments, there’s nothing I feel I need to hide because he likes what makes me me. He’s amazing in every way. I could go on all day about why I’m head over heels. Seriously. Ask my family. They’ll tell you I do go on all day. Following that, it should be so easy to tell him three little words. Why is it so hard to tell people we love that we love them? For me, it took more courage than I could have believed, even if I felt all those things in my heart and in my soul. It was hard, like opening a heavy metal door that’s been rusted shut too long. I could put it down to the fear of rejection. Maybe that door was something I built to protect myself. Maybe it was a way of keeping out dangerous things that could hurt me, or a way to keep myself apart from the rest of the world, to stay a side character and not have to engage fully in life. But it’s that—and yet more than that. There’s no doubt it has to be more, because I wasn’t afraid of Barnaby not feeling the same way. I knew he did. The biggest difficulty came, I think, from pride.
You see, love makes us weak. Love, self-giving, unburdened and pure, comes from a place within us that pride cannot accept exists. We like to think we’re all powerful, that we can weather any storm. Love shows us that we need others desperately. It makes us vulnerable, opening us to all kinds of painful possibilities. It’s terrifying to let go and fly into the unknown. Worse, to know that you’re not flying alone. When you’re responsible only for yourself, life is kinda easier. You don’t feel the consequences as harshly, because it’s your own problem, your own mistakes. When you say those three words aloud for the first time, you’re letting someone in to share in those consequences, at the very least on an emotional level. I love you. The biggest sentence in any language, the heaviest, and the most incredible. As hard as it is to heave that rusted door open, once it is, the joy that follows floods every aspect of life. Say it first. Say it often. It gets easier and easier, as love makes us so much stronger than we could ever be on our own. Those three words teach us it’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to rely on the wind from someone else’s wings. We don’t have to do it alone. Now imagine how strong those three words make us when God says them. And He does. Over and over. We just have to open the door.