My heart is torn in too many directions today, not able to keep up with those I love or be as good to some of those I love — those far-flung from me — as I want to be, as I strive to be. Because love, like goodness, love as goodness, is a verb. I don’t want my practice to slip into a noun.
My heart is also torn today — in and about the not far-flung place that’s home to me. It can’t seem to quiet the beat of anticipatory loss, that ache: that all that starts to seem solid melts too quickly into the air, whether newfound possibility and groundedness, to bonds of goodness and love. Social forces writ large and socialization writ small, including the “simple” fear that stops people from making themselves open to this tenuous world that sometimes offers expansive vistas in little gestures, are good at shredding my heart, time and again.
This heart of mine is used to loss, like a rhythm. That’s perhaps what it’s best at: taking it in with cold honesty, adding it to the thick muscle of loss, renewing breath, a bit more belabored but still strong. Or maybe just more fortified, which is not the heart I want — a heart already seeing loss in advance, playing its soldierly part in nudging love away before it hurts or I hurt, a heart adorning itself in armor as illusion of strength.
This heart, I hold it out as wounded and bloodied, as vulnerable, as aspiring to love and/as goodness, even if I’m failing at offering it as well as I’d like. This heart, looking for others to meet me on this battlefield that should be our community, our friendships and partnerships, our broken and beautiful complexities, our intimacies so tender.
Let us not be scared. Together.
Love, fully bared, as gift, as promise.
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(Artwork by Evelyn Gutierrez.)