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falling and giving up control
When I landed in Lima, Peru my family had no chill. I hugged my mom but then I was overwhelmed by hugs from little people. Little people who I’d never met but came up to me with open arms trusting me enough to hug them back.
It’s not like I hadn’t seen pictures of them, I had. I’d talked to them on facetime and I’d hear their little voices over the phone, but nothing could prepare me for the kind of love I felt for them.
I often wonder about what it means to fall in love. The idea of falling in love is terrifying to me because it implies I have no control, it implies I wasn’t paying any attention and now I might even be hurt. I am honest in admitting I am terrified of love and yet, here I was, completely in love with my nieces and nephews.
Their smiles, the way they danced, the way my two year old niece was a little skeptical the first time we hung out but by the next time we hung out her face would light up when she’d see me, the way they’d call me tía every two seconds, and let me tell you, nothing beats hugging your 9 year old nephew after Messi scores a goal.
bell hooks writes:
Love heals. When we are wounded in the place where we would know love, it is difficult to imagine that love really has the power to change everything. No matter what has happened in our past, when we open our hearts to love we can live as if born again, not forgetting the past but seeing it in a new way, letting it live inside us in a new way.
“We can live as if born again.” — this is perhaps how I would summarize my experience in Peru. A sense of being born again without forgetting the past, but knowing there was a before and after. Even in the before love healed me, and in the after it continues to do so.
For so long I lived terrified of loving. I learned to withhold my love, but when one is created to love and be loved, withholding love is denying the very being we were created to be.
Withholding seems safe from a distance, and it might even feel safe in the moment, this of course sometimes is a result of trauma. I will never tell you what to do or not to do within the context of that, just the fact that you’re still here is a miracle in itself and that is love enough.
This time around I stood no chance, I was not prepared, and I fell hard, because how do you withhold love from a 9 month old baby girl? Impossible. Even if I tried, she seemed to not withhold her love from me, how could I not love her? And maybe this is why I have committed to always learn from kids and to never forget what it’s like to be a kid.
Children seem to know something adults have forgotten. They know love heals, and that’s the only thing love can do — love dances, love belly laughs, love gives, love respects, love listens, love jumps and lands well, but if you fall you get up, and this is love too. Love pays attention to the way the birds sing, and the way the ladybug lands on the leaves of a flower in the garden, and they know love requires justice.
What if I give up having to be in control every day? What if today I fall in love with a song, or a book, or the way the buildings look like a blur in the snowfall? What if today I fall in love with a person? What if today I trust Creator enough to fall in love with Her too? A man from Nazareth once said. “let the little children come to me, for theirs is the Kin_dom of Heaven.” and I for one never want to forget that.
May we fall in love in the places where we need to heal today.