I don’t know about you, kittens, but I hurl a whole lot of love into the abyss.
Actually, I do know about you. I know very much about you. (I do not intend this to be creepy.)
I know that you are some of the bravest love-hurlers I will ever know. (Case in point: I am still digging out from the avalanche of your December donations.)
So I know you know the exquisite goulash of pain and tenderness that I know.
I sprinkle and slather and hurl love. Most of the time, I’m at peace with no response and have learned to keep my expectations small and quiet, but sometimes even I whisper, is there anyone out there to receive?
The answer, I am convinced, is so much yes.
It’s “yes” in the eyes of a weary, wounded wonder whose colors all illuminate in our arms: a Warren, weak and strong and wondering if we can bear the full weight of love received, love returned, love outside of language.
It’s “yes” in the spark of a spice-colored, spicy-souled marmalade man, the Thurman who pours out thimblefulls and tsunamis of love in complicated contortions.
It’s “yes” in the tea-colored eyes of a tenderhearted Crunchwrap, freed — even if only for the day — from her skin-protecting neck sausage (this is my term for the weird cotton donuts we’re swaddling her with), wondering if freedom just might be her birthright and her bliss.
It’s “yes” in the yearnings of a Lucy Blue for 2,021 sausages.
It’s “yes” in the sudden turning to a new year, the year we’ve all claimed to be pining for, for — is it ten months now? Ten thousand years? Suddenly 2021 belongs to us, and we shiver, wondering if it can return all the love and expectation and hope we’ve hurled its way.
I am thoroughly convinced that it can…because we can.
We can be the relentless love we need.
We can keep being the ones who see the littlest ones, the weirdest ones, the last ones picked and the first ones to understand what it means to be pure in heart and to see God.
And we can count on it — count with me, even after last night’s countdown to who knows what — that we will receive the bread we need for the journey, day by day. We would like for it to come to us in larger packages, so we could know we’re “set” for the week or month or year. But daily bread is what we’re given, and daily bread is what will save us.
Recently I received an email from an old friend from whom I hadn’t heard in five or six years. If I live a hundred years, this elderly man will forever be one of the kindest people I’ve encountered. I send him cards for every birthday and Christmas.
This Very Covidy Christmas(TM), I suddenly heard from my old friend. “Angela,” he wrote, “I’m sorry that I don’t usually write. It has been too long. But I want you to know that every card you’ve written me has mattered to me. I want you to know that your love does not return void.”
I think I will be chewing on those words for the rest of my life.
So this New Year, this tender, already-treasured baby New Year, with seven hundred million expectations on its wee little back, I want you to remember this.
I want you to remember that your love will not return void.
I want you to relax and trust that you will have brief glimpses of glory when it’s all too much. You will have exquisite interactions, enough to spur you on when you can’t see the hands that catch your offering in the darkness like a glowing moon.
We will know pain this year.
But we will know joy we couldn’t begin to wrap our minds around just yet.
And we will have the weak and the weary and the wise to carry us, purr by pink toe-bean by whisker by dream.
“Of course I’ll hurt you. Of course you’ll hurt me. Of course we will hurt each other. But this is the very condition of existence. To become spring, means accepting the risk of winter. To become presence, means accepting the risk of absence.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry