Two years ago I started processing this concept of loving and aching – I spoke at my college’s baccalaureate service about falling in love. I thought about some of the people and places that captured my heart (like Costa Rica, an internship in the city of Boston, living with roommates). And at the end I said that falling in love is the hardest thing I’ll ever do because as your heart grows bigger, the ache grows too.
In this season of life, I feel that ache. I remember writing about falling in love and realize that the ache is a consequence of it – but it’s a good consequence.
I fell in love with studying politics and carrying about political issues – like immigration reform, health care legislation, welfare programs. The ache is watching legislators refuse to take action in passing immigration legislation; the ache is watching protesters in Murrieta, CA yelling at women and children who are trying to cross the border to flee violence and being told they are not wanted; the ache is seeing the unfairness of our immigration laws and the poor who pay the price for political inaction.
I have fallen in love with a new community of people here in Santa Barbara – and the ache is the many burdens we individually carry – and then carry together because we have become family.
I have wanted to better know how to love myself – and to affirm who God created me to be. The ache is realizing there is still fear and anxiety that needs to be redeemed in my life. And that at times feels like a very overwhelming and exhausting process.
I read (and loved!!) Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly and she writes about vulnerability and being “all in” in this life. It is only when we are truly vulnerable and exposed that we are freest and most liberated to be who we are – and this is how we live life to the fullest. We can’t live life well unless we are “all in”.
I want to be “all in” – and I realize that being “all in” and giving myself completely to these different people and places and things has a cost associated with it – it’s an aching cost. It’s being exposed and being real. I wouldn’t change it for anything, but I’m acknowledging its difficulties and feeling the weight of them.
Even though that weight is heavy, maybe heavier in this particular season of life, there’s a whole lot of joy and beauty in the love that I am experiencing and embracing. I’m clinging to that joy, and to those glimpses of beauty and hope.