If ever there was a fear with a justified place in the human experience, it is fear of intimacy. This pen is not referring to sex. People have sex every day in this land and beyond without a single iota of emotional intimacy. Sex and love-making are two different worlds.
This pen is talking about emotional and intellectual intimacy. I’m talking about allowing oneself to be yourself with another person and trusting it is safe to do so. No relationship of any kind can be a healthy, flourishing place to be if both people can’t fully be themselves with each other.
When you’ve absorbed enough wounds in life, such intimacy feels like an impossibility. However, because it feels like an impossibility does not mean it is one. For many of us, myself included, taking the risk of trusting is not a chump change endeavor – not by any measure. There is a close-to-my-heart saying I believe in. It’s okay to be afraid, don’t let it scare you. Meaning, if any of us wait for the fear to pass before we take the risk, we will remain stuck in place.
I have a relationship with my past wounds, my history. And, if there is one thing that gets my back up, it’s the very notion of giving my past wounds decision-making power. Yes, caution and patience are worthy allies. And with them at my side, I’ll be damned if I will allow my history to obliterate the possibility of a deeply loving relationship.
No, Sheila, it’s not that. I want to know for a couple a reasons.
More than a couple.
No doubt, no doubt. I just need to know if I am the only one in this experience. Think of it as an alignment thing. If I’m out here standing on a rock by myself, having this experience, okay. I’m not worried about me, per se, but it’d be helpful if I could understand how I got standing on this rock by myself. I’m in my sixties. The mind can go, you know. I’d like to try to keep mine in the front yard. If I’m not standing alone on the rock, or you’re in sight of it, how do you explain this?
We’re friends, close friends. What kind of rock is it? Is it a nice rock?
“You’re too damn patient with people, too stupid loyal,” a friend of mine told me, though he used a word different than damn. He continued: “Former friends, an ex or two , and family members who haven’t acted like family members in God knows how long, and you, Mister Loyal, keep the door open to them! And even worse – I mean I love you, brother and I’m not saying this to hurt you but to wake you the hell up – but even worse, you even reach out to some of these folks from time to time and let’m know you care about them and what do you get back? Squat! Stop wasting your time!”
My friend was right – is right still. Recently I’ve been thinking about his heart-filled diatribe, I guess you’d call it. The words, Stop wasting your time, seem to strike a deeper chord. Maybe they always ran that deep did and I’m just now getting it. Wouldn’t be the first time I was slow on this kind of uptake. This kind of uptake being, in part, that who you believe someone is may be entirely wrong. That we sometimes really believe someone to be someone they never were, and never will be. Or, we were right to believe someone’s initial presentation of self, but the real intimacy that comes with loving bonds in life were too much for them, so they engaged in the age-old art of sabotage. In many if not most cases, the reason they never will be or can’t get back to being themselves is because they are so twisted up in their own unhealthiness, often caused by their history-wounds, they are unable to break free and get the help they deserve.
Some people can’t face the journey that comes with getting free of your history, which is tragic because the freedom to be who you are is a truly wonderful place to be.
I woke up this morning to learn a friend of mine has suffered two strokes and is now, as I write these words, in a drug-induced coma. Right-sizing experiences like these remind me – and I would hope and pray they would remind anyone – that holding off on letting people know you love them is a tectonic mistake in judgment.
Grudges over past missteps and “bruises” – real or imagined – impede far too many people from letting people know they are loved. When you let someone know you love them, you will not always hear or read the same in return. Please don’t let that stop you from telling them they are loved. Who knows what wounds live in the minds of others, and impede them from saying I love you too? And then again, maybe they don’t. And that’s okay too.
Life happens to us whether we like it or not. We have say in how we respond to it.
Pray for my friend, please. He’s a truly good man. First thing I’m going to tell him when I see him is, “I love you, brother.”