Oh to feel so right in being right. Such a nice cocoon for a little while, but so lonely and soul-eroding in the end.
I was told once by someone, without meanness or malice, that I had barriers; that I couldn’t bear a situation because it was something that I could not control. This person noticed things about me. My double-checking to make sure my car doors were locked, my firm sense that most things should be brought into a clear understanding, things could be emotionally risky as long as there was a fair measure of logic and common sense to it. There was my desire and commitment to be authentic, but yet I held much in reserve. If it feels unsafe then it makes sense for me to pull back. My rationale being that it is just too difficult to be authentic with some people; it feels like some people trample on realness or try to take advantage, as if authenticity is a weakness to exploit. From there it is a short leap to decide that is only wise to withdraw from them rather than be in conflict. It’s easy to feel so right in this. And it is the course of action to take in some cases, just not in the ways and for the reasons that I too often give myself.
I don’t argue with the conclusion that I have barriers. I just didn’t really see the problem with it. It made sense… until it didn’t.
A series of circumstances that I cannot explain has created an upheaval in me. It looks like an unfolding journey, a slow-growing awareness, looking back on it. And it’s not done… a journey of letting go never is. But there was a moment of sudden clarity; a moment of brilliant light when the truth of my position to life and love, my approach, my barriers, my behavior, were illuminated. My heart was broken in the moment I came face-to-face with the truth. Being right, being protected, retreating into the known, having everything make sense; these were exposed as the tactics they are, tactics to keep me from what calls my heart. Isn’t it true that the closer we get to what our heart knows is right for us, the more resistance we encounter, so often from within ourselves?
The more powerful and more potentially life-changing something is, the larger and scarier it seems to loom. I have been blessed, yes blessed, to encounter opportunities and challenges like this, and although extraordinarily rare, soul connections like this… where it is so powerful, so beyond human understanding, so meant to be that even if you hide your heart away, it finds you. It can be a person that somehow keeps being brought across your path in ways that neither of you can control, ‘serendipitous’ occurrences that stack up until you realize that something is happening beyond you, or a longing or dream that doesn’t leave you and is trying to guide you into a path that is uniquely yours. You discover that your barriers don’t work, and in fact work against you, when love has chosen its time. Love will find you, call you, come to you, show itself to you, change you, prepare you for what it will ask of you. And what it asks are moments of courage, not even that you have a constant courage or trust, but enough for one moment and then another.
Love isn’t all about being with a specific person or making a certain kind of difference with our lives, which can too easily become a focus. It is first about how we love. It is about changes in our own heart. It is about letting love transform us, about letting God=Love in. It is about holding on by letting go of our barriers, letting love’s integrity guide our decisions, courageously taking its hand and releasing our grip on the hands of fear and self-protection.
The truth is that I don’t want to have the barriers I have; I can’t bear the weight of them any longer. They keep some painful things from me, but they also keep me from love. They keep me alone. I long for the depth of intimacy, trust, sureness where I can let them go; that place where they are not needed. To be truly free I must trust the elemental truth that love is the best protection one can ever have. There is no better security in life than to love authentically in all situations and with all people we encounter. We will not do this perfectly but when we let the purity of love take the lead, it soothes our bumbling efforts with a measure of grace.
May I have the courage to stand sure and be true to what calls my heart, to risk being completely vulnerable in the hope that it will be met with the same. To know deeply and fully as I become known deeply and fully… to accept as is and be accepted as I am. May I trust love moment by moment even when I can’t fully trust myself or another. May I choose to follow my heart where it sees to take me. May I say yes to love knowing that whatever it asks of me is not meant for harm but is for the purpose of answering my heart’s deepest and truest longings.
This song by Brandi Carlile reminds me that I cannot spend my whole life hiding my heart away. It is time to let go of my barriers and let my heart be free.