Courage to Love

April as a month can be cruel, full of contradictions, harsh as it straddles something gray and wet , and manages to eek out signs of exciting opulence. The shoots of life come out in droves,

and yet I stumble and rise again…

This past week, exhausted in my own reflections and responsibilities since returning from my trip, the changing of the hours, of the light, of the petulant spirit inside of me, of losing a dear friend…

I am waking from a dream…..and trying to piece together what is eternal in me and what is capable of change.

And with grief and glory, the epiphany emerges in kindness, but with the full force of unexpected sun, or a snow that goes unforecasted….

realizing that I have frequently THOUGHT I was loving…but really I wasn’t.

A moment where I felt so lonely, and so at last rainy hours in China

I FELT I was living,

but couldn’t have been.

In avoiding anything intimate…. messy! and promising failure!, in not needing grace because of self-censorship,

I may have favored, I may have mimiked the expectations laid out for me…I may have given affection, attention, adoration.

But Love?

Not so much.



am quite skilled at

Hurrying through

my own existence

I could medal, PhD in, achieve honor it

101 tasks

Hoping that if I hurried enough, that I wouldn’t have so much so lose….

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

Mary Oliver

I think I’ve been amazed.

But did not LOVE.

There are people who feel more love than they show it.

Maybe that has been me.

Maybe I have felt love moving around…and I had decided in so many moments not to give myself up to the desire in the moment to become lost. To stake a claim. To say THIS IS WHAT I WANT. and take it. and live with the consequences, that loving means losing.

So this is the season of actually showing it.  Sure, it takes strength to love. Martin Luther King wrote entire sermons that inspired a revolution, collected in Strength To Love. He asserts that love requires nonconformity, and he barked that death is being silent about things that matter.

The Xintiandi area is known for its uniquely Shanghaiese architecture

In China, when I freely roamed and relaxed and just inhaled the rain on that last afternoon, I stumbled into a shop where a man was hand painting small bookmarks,  intensely humming along. At his right, was a book with Taoist teaching, from around 500 BC

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.

He painted a flower that rarely blooms…only in the middle of darkness…

“and alone, or with one that can tolerate its closeness” and is rarely tamed.

At the end of the day, at the end of this 31st year of life, at the beginning of a new season, at the beginning of something undefineable,

I am moving from strength to courage.

To love something

and hold it close to the blood and bones that is me

and realize that I,

and it,

are mortal

and know that my life depends on it….

and when the season ends, to honor it.

and let it go.

when it goes.


8 thoughts on “Courage to Love

  1. beautiful words yet again. i think that love is one of those concepts that gets blown up to epic proportions in movies and tv and what not. my favorite simple definition of love came off a storypeople print by brian andreas. it was something along the lines of love is eating someone elses cooking and saying it was good. i like that 🙂

  2. I agree with the previous commenters, your writing is simply gorgeous.

    Love is totally blown into something that it isn’t, via the wonderful world of TV, love songs, and even India’s Bollywood…as someone who has been married 10 + years my biggest advice is to find someone who you can tolerate! 🙂 Tolerating another person’s flaws is really what love and dedication is all about.

  3. Ah love, I think everyone has their own version of love making it so hard for everyone to grasp the concept in the eyes of another. It’s spring and love is always in the air. Actually at that rate I am shocked Valentine’s day isn’t in April.

    I am back to blogging now that my MIL and her sister have left. Well, back to the commenting part. Did you get the package I sent?

  4. I believe truly loving somebody or something is the hardest thing to learn because it actually means totally letting go: letting yourself behind, and letting the other one go if he/she wishes to go. Love is a very inflationarily used concepts nowadays, but it seems like many people haven’t understood yet what it’s actually about … not about getting, but giving.

    Thank you for this beautiful post! 🙂

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