Yesterday a dear friends autocorrected her message to a group of girls who had recently prayed her through a break up with her boyfriend. She meant to write, “move forward” but instead the message corrected itself to “love forward”. This has stayed with me ever since and in the creative courage of sharing story and the hurting vulnerable space I find myself in, it occurred to me that “loving forward” is all we really can do. We can look back and remember. We can hold on to what it did, didn’t, could, might mean, but how do we reconcile love with our past? I think that loving forward is the perfect way to name the steps we take from the stories of our past and present into our future. We are always in movement until we settle. Sometimes we settle for good and sometimes we settle for less. It’s all rather painstakingly brilliant and gut wrenchingly difficult.
Here’s the real life. I mean, if I spend one more moment trying to reconcile the past with something of the future yet unseen I think I might go crazy. I am a 35 year old woman and I am dying trying to figure out why I sit here without a husband, a family, a home to call my own and a clear calling for the future. It’s all rather real life 2017 and this is the storytelling that fears are made of.
I have hope enough that indeed, all will be well, and in reality I only cry a few times a week. But you know what, I let myself cry. I ball and let the happy hormone (they say its released when we cry) race through my body soothing the anger, bitterness and shame. I cry in the shower mainly. Then the tears just feel like the rest of the water on my face. I cry when I get out of the shower because my face is already hot with the steam. I bury my face in my towel and feel like a child in a safe place, naked and unashamed one moment and naked and full of shame the next. Then the tears end and I am ready to breathe in another moment, fully aware that these are difficult times but not impossible.
Loving forward will keep our eyes on new lands and experiences. A promised land is sweet and nourishing and has never been experienced before in your whole body. You know it’s there and you hope with love and faith as you feel lifted towards the one thing that is standing in your way, and in my case it feels like I’m too consumed with figuring out forwards and see where love was missing backwards. Oh Sally, let us work on some self compassion and chatting this out a bit more.