This is my week perfectly captured in one picture.
It was one of those weeks that was derailed by too many deadlines and not enough time, high expectations followed by staggering disappointments, the pressure to do the things that were supposed to bring me joy and the realization that everything was making me unhappy. It was unfortunately also a week where my insomnia kicked into high gear, leaving me unable to rationally cope with all of those things.
Trying to salvage some good from the week, I went to buy 2 bikes for our Angel Tree angels. Just when I started to feel a little bit lighter, I accidentally knocked down a row of 20 bikes.
One by one they fell like dominoes, pedals tangled in spokes, handlebars interlocked in a Gordian knot of despair.
For someone who really loves a good metaphor, it was the most perfect symbol for this flaming trash heap of a week I could have imagined. And I wanted to laugh – I really did. I wanted to throw up my hands and give the universe the middle finger in defiance. But I couldn’t. I didn’t have any fight left in me.
I felt like Princess Leia in The Empire Strikes Back when she tells Han Solo she loves him and he just says “I know.” What a dick.
What do you do when you try to do nothing but send love into the world but your heart feels bruised and heavy?
What do you do when you feel like the love you give is not returned or even gratefully accepted?
You have two choices I suppose. You can throw your hands up in the air and decide that karma or God or the universe is trying to tell you to give up.
Or you can remember that loving hard isn’t about anybody but you. That’s a hard one to get your head around.
Hang on, because neither is this: unconditional love means refusing to allow someone else’s decision to withhold or reciprocate your love change you.
Loving hard means saying “I love you” again in the face of an “I know.”
Loving hard means recognizing that the way someone accepts or denies your love is a reflection of them, not you.
Loving hard means swallowing your pride long enough to see that the people who are too scared or too stubborn to accept your love need more of it, not less.
Loving hard means picking up the bikes one by one instead of running away in defeat.
Tonight I wish for you the strength to pick up the bikes when they collapse and the courage to recognize that when you love hard, even when it seems that love isn’t being returned, you are staying true to yourself. You are refusing to let the world harden you.
And you will never regret that.