You know how the story goes:
Girl attends a convention a couple of times – catches the eye of a sexy Him. He catches hers back. Flirtation happens. He asks for time at the next event. She is OMGSoExcitedICanHardlyStandIt!!!!!
They spend a wonderful weekend together, enjoying each-other’s company, and have a lovely time. The weekend completes and they both ride off into the sunset, going to their respective corners of the universe, complete with the time and space they shared. Simple, right?
This is most decidedly not how the story ended up being written, as you might imagine. A good friend of mine asked at one point during the weekend “is this love? Are you starting something significant?”
“This is us having a great time for this weekend. We live on opposite coasts. It’s fun. I’m 100% on board with not perusing this further.” Eventually both He and I acknowledged that there was some sort of capitol “R” relationship-feeling thing between us. We had fallen in love.
I later found myself in a context where I could see Him more than once or twice a year, and I did. The dates were hot and amazing and juicy and exciting, and I thought: “maybe some day there will be room at His table for me”. It was a good thought that brought upon good feelings.
Fast forward a bit, and as the Fates would allow, the complexities of our lives came to a point where a choice was made. He opted out.
Some months later, I saw Him at a friend’s birthday party and was very aware of my continued feelings of love for Him, and I had the thought “I wonder if He’ll call”.
Early the next morning I had a dream. In my dream, He and I were talking. I remember Him saying, “You love me like you need to have at least one date night a week with me”
In my dream I declared, “I love you like if something happens to you, I’ll die”. ***
In that moment, I awoke to find myself making a motion as though pulling some thing from my heart (as one might pull a plug out of the bathtub drain) and sitting upright.
What followed was an outpouring of such profound love and devotion, I sobbed for hours.
You know the kind of cry I’m referencing – the kind where you need to get a bath towel for all of the tears streaming from your eyes and the snot streaming from your nose, it’s coming out so fast and strong. It was the kind of moment that leaves a space.
There’s a Him-shaped space in my heart now
The following lines are from a highly influential piece called The Invitation, written by Oriah, Mountain Dreamer:
“I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow; if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.
"I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.”
There are days and times when the sorrow and sad that sometimes accompany the feelings of love I still have for Him beckon me to fill the Him-shaped Space with any number of feelings: hate, anger, resentment, etc….
Sometimes I think ‘I’ll just close this off and put a barricade around it.”
Here’s the thing, though. For me, love is expansive. Allowing for the open Him-shaped space keeps my heart open and increases my capacity to show and share loving feelings.
Here’s my offering for your consideration, gentle reader. The next time someone leaves a them-shaped space, be with it and let it be.
*** - the kind of emotion I'm describing with the pulling of the plug is an attached expression of love .. it's love that is needed, rather than offered.. it is love that has conditions. This is not how I personally aspire to express love towards anyone. My personal aim is to love without condition, and in that particular moment - I was grieving a loss.