Taking it all in… I sit in somewhat of a daze. It is amazing how quickly our emotions can change. One moment we are full of hope and joyful anticipation, and in the blink of an eye, our eyes swell up with tears and our heart aches and feels heavy. The very ability to feel such a wide range of emotions is truly a gift. The contrast is what makes our life experiences so rich.
Last December, after one of the most challenging and amazing autumns of my life, I found myself curbside at the Fort Lauderdale airport. Bags were packed, and an international trip in many ways was already underway. I popped the trunk and jumped out of the car to help Jose with his bags. It was an intense moment. So much joy had been shared. So many, many miles had been covered in both our travels and our relationship. In an instant, the bags were lined up on the curb, and it was time for our “see you soon.”
I had watched so many movies over the years… many, many hellos and good-byes. They were epic; long pauses and gazes with few words that communicated so much. I’m sure you remember seeing it, those tearful goodbyes and joyful hellos shared by two lovers. I would always fill in the blanks as to the story behind these couples. For them, it seemed as though time stood still, even if for just a moment. That they drank in each other in a way, few would truly ever understand. Looking back over my life, there had been too many missed moments. Lack of attention to these special instances and what they could have meant to the very fabric of my daily life — moments not adequately marked with gratitude, reflection, or appropriate intentionality.
But, last December, it was different. It was our special moment. It was something that Jose had taught me over the past year — to stop and drink in the moment with the fullness of all its emotions. I was so incredibly grateful to have this man in my life. To have learned a new way of “being,” both with myself and as part of an “us”. For the first time, I wasn’t lost in this relationship, but rather lifted and comforted by it. I was strong and confident and free. For a sliver of a moment, time stood still. There were no other people, no luggage, no honking horns, no traffic officer yelling to keep the lane clear and to keep things moving along. In that instant, there was nothing, but Jose holding me in his gaze, seeing to the very depths of my soul. Without a single word he told me it was all good, that he loved me, and that the journey continued even as we were being drawn apart. He took me sweetly in his arms and kissed me slowly and deeply as once again, the passion built up inside of us. We were one, and my heart was so full. As we stepped slowly away from each other, our eyes still locked, we said so much to each other… without a single word.
We parted and were each swept in different directions. Looking at each other we mouthed the words, “te amo.” He walked toward the terminal, and I pulled away from the curb. For the next two days my heart would ache, for each moment that passed, I understood that we would be further and further apart. It was a two day trip via Ecuador and then on to Peru by bus back to his hometown of Lambayeque in Northern Peru. Once he was there, I knew that the distance between us would not grow any more. In some strange way, that comforted me.
This relationship is rich. It is anything but easy. It is my incredible journey, and I am thankful for it all. Sometimes in our effort to play it safe and feel secure, we preclude the very things that would make our lives wonderful. What are you courageous enough to allow in your life?