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The Birthday Dance - Friday, Dec. 20, 2019
Friday, Sept. 13, 2019 @ 1:10 pm
Making the choice to learn what it means to be loving rather than remaining tightly wound in a fortress of control is a daily, sometimes hourly, choice. It’s a terrifying choice, no doubt. It’s a choice that flies in the face of every illusion of safety that you’ve spent a lifetime constructing. It’s as terrifying as standing on the cliff of eternity and leaping into the abyss. Let yourself feel that terror. Let yourself begin to befriend the mystery of life instead of clinging to what you think you can control. The truth is that there is so little we can control. The unknowable and mysterious force of life could subvert your plans in an instant. -The Wisdom of Anxiety
I read this, on the evening of my faltering. The precise thing that I need to hear, to help steady my course of the pursuit of divine love.
I cycle home from work in the rain. I wear flip flops, and stormwater splashes up across my feet and ankles; I love cycling in the rain.
I arrive at the front door of my apartment and realize that I’m missing my keys and wallet. I can see them sitting on my desk at work. I feel my heart turning inwards and the ache of tears starting to form. My chin quivers. I have my phone. At least I have my phone.
“Hello!” he says.
“Hi!” I respond, “I have a problem.”
“What’s going on?”
“I left my keys and wallet at work. Are you at home? Can I come get my second set of keys from you?”
“Oh, yes! I can give you some money too, if you need to buy dinner or pay for swimming.”
I cycle over to his place, arrive in his apartment soaking wet. My bare feet wet and grimey with tiny pieces of asphalt. My hair a tumbled mess from lunch-hour yoga, a helmet, and humidity.
“Come in,” he says.
“My feet,” I say.
“I don’t care,” he says.
I sit on his couch, and he brings me a snack, and I lay my head on his shoulder while he watches the baseball game. He presses his fingers into the tight parts of my neck.
All I had to do was ask. All I had to do was ask for help.
The game ends an hour later. I rise to leave, to carry on with my plans for the night to go swimming.
“Oh, hey. Let me show you what I learned the other night.”
He holds me in the dance position. Rock step, tri-ple step, step-step, tri-ple step. I’m learning to follow to how he leads me, the gentle pressure from his hand on my waist, the light pull on my arm. Follow the energy. He pushes lightly against my shoulder with one hand and then turns my hand in a way that sends me out to spin around and arrive back in front of him on the downbeat. I rock step at the right moment and realize that he’s actually taught me how to dance. He swings me out, and I clatter into the coffee table, and he pulls me towards him, and I’m laughing and he’s kissing my neck and everything is OK.
Everything is OK.
I swim a thousand meters. I sit in the hot tub and listen to the older men talking around me. An attractive man with floppy hair, brown eyes, and a strong body glances at me in the sauna, and then again as I stand under the cold shower outside of the sauna. And then again as I’m leaving the pool, my hair dripping down my back and my feet squelching in my flip flops. I suppose that I’ve glanced at him each of these times too.
My castle. My fortress of control. It may crumble, but I refuse to raise the drawbridge.
I choose this - the vulnerable unknowing of loving - because I know the hollow numb feeling of the alternative.
I choose life, with all of its passions and emotions.
Throw it all at me. Throw at me a man who kisses my forehead in a way that brings me to tears. Throw at me a thundershower that pummels me with rain and wind. Send me up a slabby crag and force me to trust the rubber of the toes of my climbing shoes. Plunge me into the Pacific Ocean, under a canopy of stratus clouds, and make the water be numbingly cold. Push me to the limit. Send me to my knees. Humble me.
I am brave. I am strong.
I know that I am loved.