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Not long ago, I was discussing attraction with a group of friends. It started as half-hearted commentary on couples we know that seemed ill-suited for each other, and others that appeared perfect for one another, but eventually weren’t.

That very weekend, I was reminded of a similar conversation years ago regarding students in my classes, and how it seemed pre-destined that some number in every class would be attracted to one another. The lady I was conversing with thought it related to the fact that they were participating in an in-house treatment and couldn’t leave; essentially taking on new family for a period of thirty days.thoughtmeyours

I thought, and I still think it’s something more. Surely, they have much in common, shared demons. But at my heart, I suspect it may be as simple as acceptance; acceptance of the messiest parts of the soul.

“If she spoke, she would tell him the truth: she was not okay at all, but horribly empty, now that she knew what it was like to be filled.”

I’m certain that this isn’t something unique to my students. In some ways, they are lucky to have both means and a circumstance where they can openly share the worst of who they are. Most don’t have the luxury, and go through life with the notion that no one could possibly understand, or worse.

Surely, if someone knew ‘the dirt’, they couldn’t possibly love me. There have been times when I pushed others away from me, absolute in my belief that I was saving them from a life of misery that could only be found in loving me.

We all seek out that acceptance, a camaraderie. You see it in cancer survivors and war veterans. Those who so seldom speak of their demons find a place where they can, where acceptance is understood.

For most of us, the uglies we struggle with are self-induced. A bad choice is carried long past its due such that it robs us of a sweeter life. Whether warranted or not, we allow our fear of rejection (or the fear of acceptance) to keep us from getting too close, from letting down our defenses, the obstacles that get between us and the life we truly deserve. It’s ironic. The thing we most despise in ourselves becomes the thing we give a place of honor. Perhaps love isn’t doing everything right all the time but, instead, giving a second chance to the people you love who do things wrong.

“People always say that, when you love someone, nothing in the world matters. But that’s not true, is it? You know, and I know, that when you love someone, everything in the world matters a little bit more.”

youarehereMany years back, I learned to cross stitch, and most everyone in my family has at least one piece of my work. One of the first, a lighthouse stitched for my daddy. It has hung in my parent’s home ever since. And yet, because it was one of the first, I had not yet learned the importance of tying off my stitches (which takes much more time than simply stretching the thread across the empty canvas between). If you’re working with a light cloth, shadows of colored thread can be seen through. Though I realize it isn’t something most see, I can’t look at that lighthouse without seeing the shadows of the stiches that weren’t tied. Others may look at the piece and only see love, yet I see an error in choice.

“the people you love can surprise you every day… maybe who we are isn’t so much about what we do, but rather what we’re capable of when we least expect it.”

I’ve come to understand that our life is much the same way. We focus on the worst we are, rather than seeing the best. We assume a sweeter life is undeserved, never realizing that those who love us……….would and yet, love us still.

what way
was I to wander
would bring me near
to you
with tear-stained dreams
blood upon my hands
so fragile in my falling
stronger
in my will
betrayal of the hope
you’d understand

beneath
this tangled mess of scars
a map of miseries
a fortress built
of loneliness and pain
permission
has a silent voice
learned of lessons past
comfort found
in fears I know
by name

of things I cannot tell you
words I dare not say
a time before –
with nothing yet to lose
separates my longing
from truth you cannot see
a tenderness
much deeper
than the bruise

. . .