The Why Doesn’t Matter

The mailman unloads his route from the box on the corner and I watch him from my seat on the porch. He listens to a podcast, and I find this endearing.

I’m on the phone with a new friend. As I listen to him speak about his work with trauma and plant medicine, a hummingbird decides to visit the honeysuckle growing up the side of the porch.

This morning, I sat with a friend who recently lost her father. He went quickly, which is always the hardest for those who are left behind. The shock takes a long time to dissipate. I feel such tenderness towards people when they receive painful reminders of how finite our lifetimes are.

The perfection of this late summer day is as much a reminder of the fragility of it all as anything else. The sun shines brightly and the sky is a painting of perfect clouds and boundless blues. I need a shawl to sit out here and ignore the work I should be doing. I’m taking a day off. My heart feels like it’s outside of my body, pinned on my sleeve again.

I’ve got a wedding to officiate this afternoon in the always-cheerful town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. When I come home, I’ll clean my house, burn some incense and play some music. I have no idea where this day is taking me.

Tomorrow my eldest child turns 18. I remember her gap-toothed smile and her fuzzy cloud of hair. She’s always seemed to float just a little above the earth. What kind of woman does she want to be? How will she choose differently for herself? I have no doubt that hers will be a remarkable life.

I am trying to transmute a mountain of feeling that I have amassed. I’m grateful that I have so many other places to put it.

This is all a preamble. What I really want to say is that a truth came forward for me today and it had a leveling effect; I am afraid to receive the kind of love I know that I give. For two decades, I’ve been choosing to put my love in places where there could never be the kind of reciprocity that I know I actually yearn for.

My therapist would tell me not to get hung up on the why, but to focus on what I am satisfying and avoiding with these choices.

I’ll sit with that, and maybe I’ll get back to you.