recently, I met someone I already knew. we went to the same middle school and high school, but agree that we probably never had a conversation while we were there. somehow (neither of us can remember) we became facebook friends. I mean…you know what I mean. it seems so unlikely to me now because of the whole never-having-spoken-thing. I’m not really in the habit of “friending” people I have never spoken to, had a class with, or something. there may be a few.
suffice it to say he was not really on my radar until after we had become “friends” on social media, many years after we had both left high school, and certainly well after I had moved away from Michigan. at some point I posted something on fb that resonated with him enough that he reached out to me. this would’ve been in 2010 or so. we emailed a little. I shared with him about how I quit smoking when he was getting ready to do the same. (it’s an interesting story that I will share at some point.) it turned out we had some lifestyle things in common, which was nice to discover.
even from those early communications, it was evident we had a special rapport. looking back (more like feeling back) there was a palpably different (and refreshing) quality to it. we held one another in high regard. but nothing romantic. just a pleasant, no-pressure friendship based in shared experience and mutual respect. the kind of relationship that comes in and out of focus with ease, and lacks drama, but not weight.
recently we started communicating much more frequently, and at great length. see, after a long period of what I’ll call “relational anorexia,” I had taken the bold step of developing a monster crush on a man I know and am friends with here in Seattle. this friend’s unavailability for romance fit comfortably within a longstanding personal pattern rooted in my fear of intimacy. instead of love the one you’re with, it seemed to be love the one you’re not with. can’t be with. won’t have you. I won’t get too into that right now except to say that it’s a good, reliable formula for staying safely alone.
so it was that in my frustration over finding myself still volunteering for what I’ve come to call The Loser’s Journey, I started reaching out more to my friend back in Michigan. we’ll call him…Andy. (yes, this Andy.) based on what I had read from his blog and our here-and-there emails, I knew that he’d had his own share of disappointment and frustration in the recent past. but rather than be hardened by it, I saw a man strong enough to be vulnerable in the face of it. he was a safe person for me to talk to. there would be no bullshit platitudes. no unsolicited advice. just…holding space. holding reverent space.
so I shared with him how I had prayed for release from this painful pattern of “seek but do not find.” he understood. he knew. he held space. bullshit-platitude-and-unsolicited-advice-free, reverent space-holding. with a sense of humor. and sometime in June it began to dawn on me that the connection I experienced with him was a true (and rare) kinship. I had called him ‘brother,’ even. you understand I mean that not in a literal or (God forbid) incestuous way, but in a way that goes deeper than superficial, physical body stuff. it was clear: Andy and I were (and are) soul siblings.
I don’t know what day it was, but I was listening to something on YouTube related to the Law of Attraction (I’m sure you have opinions about that), and there was talk of paying attention to the quality of energy you experience with others, particularly in romantic (or wannabe romantic) contexts. to paraphrase: does this person match your energy? is there a congruence? are you trying to force someone’s energy to match yours, even though it clearly doesn’t? if it doesn’t match, that’s a clear indication that this is not the right person (or circumstance, or lifetime). and if the match feels easy…well, go toward it. it’s for you.
and none of this was new information to me, or very far outside my spiritual beliefs. seemed rational, albeit in a “woo-woo” way, but I’m fairly woo-woo, so. currently I resonate with the notion that Life (or Fate, or Destiny) evolves in a kind of spiral, and as we travel up or down, we continually come back around to previously-encountered points, but from our new angle, we see them from, well, a new angle. the journey from the head to the heart is not a straight line. to those of us raised in the western world with its inescapably linear orientation, this journey makes little sense. there is no way to predict when the fuck (or if) we will get there…wherever “there” is.
but still. “there” I was, and apparently, after having discarded any faith that I would ever arrive there, arrive I did. it was like my heart-field had actually lain fallow long enough, and the ground was finally fertile. (fuck this field. nothing grows here but weeds, said former self, walking away.) and now the perfect seed could fall in, take root, and sprout. with ease.
I am totally, completely, head-over-heels in love with this man. and I am terrified. but I am not a coward. I have hope. and faith.
by Rainer Maria Rilke:
Dove that ventured outside, flying far from the dovecote:
housed and protected again, one with the day, the night,
knows what serenity is, for she has felt her wings
pass through all distance and fear in the course of her
The doves that remained at home, never exposed to loss,
innocent and secure, cannot know tenderness;
only the won-back heart can ever be satisfied: free,
through all it has given up, to rejoice in its mastery.
Being arches itself over the vast abyss.
Ah the ball that we dared, that we hurled into infinite space,
doesn’t it fill our hands differently with its return:
heavier by the weight of where it has been.
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I love you, Faith Renee. Yer Dah.
I love you too, Daddy-o!