I haven’t written on this blog in a while because I’ve always just used it when there was the fire of something to say, a spark. Words that come into my soul that can only come through my fingers. As someone who was once quite slow to think and speak, this way is always how I’ve said what can’t be said.
These past few weeks I’ve been considering love. I’ve been thinking about everything it is and all that it isn’t. It’s haunted me lately. I keep coming back to it and revising and pulling things and adding things. I still can’t quite get it right.
Last week a cycling friend died in his sleep. I say cycling friend because he wasn’t like a normal friend that I’ve had. Maybe other cyclists can attest to this. He was someone I saw often on the road and talked to only occasionally. But when I saw him my heart would smile. When I read the news of his death last week, i was standing at my kitchen counter and I had the sharp realization that I had loved him. I had loved his presence and his presents. I had loved his photographs of the city, I had loved the fact that he was a veteran and that he chose to make his living riding a bike every day. I had loved the light he brought to the world and how he moved through it (usually in loose shorts with bike tights underneath). It was his light that I’d loved, that only ever existed that one time, inside him.
The love that I felt for him doesn’t exist outside of him, it was unique to him. It was a part of his divine spark which isn’t here anymore, except as you can see the echos of it in his work.
A little while later that week, as i was still thinking about that love and longing for a missing light, my friend Harry re-shared that sermon that Bishop Michael Curry did for the royal wedding of Harry and Meghan. I remember him sharing the transcript of it the first time, right after the wedding, because reading those words (and hearing them when I watched him give that sermon), left me with such a longing that I feel the world is groaning with at the moment. That longing to let love be the way. It’s a refrain in that sermon, “when love is the way.” It’s not a short sermon, and there wasn’t an ounce of pretension in it. Instead it is filled with the divine light of Reverend Curry and is delivered in a way that only he could speak those words.
I’ve spent the last few days in a profound state of rest. Not anxiety or depression, but rest. And in the hours I’ve spent here, my mind keeps going back to that love, and how even the way i’ve been looking at love is sort of backwards. I’ve been only considering that it is something I’ve felt, I’ve not considered that I’ve just been acknowledging the soul of someone profoundly and spectacularly human, or that I’ve just been appreciating in a small way the divine spark in a person…a spark that is only here one time and will not come again.
The two above moments made me reconsider this week what love really is. My incredibly singular cycling friend who died, and my friend Harry re-sharing that sermon (Harry has long known that love is the way in case you don’t know that). Re-reading those words on love helped me look at it in a new way. The loss I’ve felt in this past year (and this has been a big year of loss of love) is the loss of something larger than a feeling that I had, it is a deep recognition of the loss of a light in the world.
There’s a poem by Rumi that has resonated with me these past few years. I first heard it recited in a lovely documentary called “I Am,” which my friend Sue recommended. I feel like it speaks to the heart of what I’d like to say, but can’t quite put my finger on:
“What was said to the rose that made it open,
was said to me here in my chest.”
When I say that I love you, I am saying that I recognize the light that has opened you like a flower. It’s been whispered to me, even if I can’t fully know it, and even if I fall all over my own awkwardness to show love. I can see still the light in who you are, and it is brilliant and will only ever exist this one time, inside of you.
I’m dedicating this writing to Harry, my long time friend, who has always chosen the way of love. You are on my heart today friend.