There’s a difference between a cloudy day and a dump truck on your front lawn. I woke up a few days ago feeling like the total grouch monster. The sun wasn’t shining and as the morning progressed the clouds opened up and the rain poured onto our beautiful Nairobi piece of tropical sweetness. I needed to deal with some intruders from my past who were threatening to step into my present and defile my future. I have realized that people don’t necessarily respect your boundaries until you enforce them (boundaries) and make it clear that ‘this far they can come, and no further’. I then begun to think on love. Love has been in the air since and has dominated quite a few of my conversations and occupied a lot of my thoughts.
I’ve mentioned my childhood friend and bosom buddy Audie who’s in Kenya visiting with her family. Her children are an absolute delight to be around. They love the freedom of being able to run around in the garden uninhibited; free to pluck flowers, make a mountain out of mowed grass and just generally be kids. Our little man is your typical 6year old boy: running, wanting to play soccer and join his dad and the boys on the basketball court. Our little princess is the exact opposite preferring the company of ‘the girls’ a lot of the times so we can talk about how our favorite colors are pink and purple and how ‘gymnastics are the stuff girls are ‘spossed to do”. Their mommy says that the soil here gets into everything and bathtime turns into a little mudpool of rich red water from the red soil typical of these parts; the kids ask if Kenya is dirtier than the United States where they live.
Sitting there talking babies, gymnastics, soccer, after dinner treats and tickle monsters that evening, after a hard day’s work in the office just seemed to make the grouchiness of my morning recede to nothingness. We went back to talking about our youth, mistakes and challenges, and then moved on to our today, our successes and victories won. We reminisced and we planned and we dreamed and hoped like we hadn’t in the three plus years since we last saw each other. It made me realize some things.
1). Love, in its simplest form is simply … simplicity. As human beings, we were created to love and be loved and the best feeling in the world is to know that somebody somewhere loves you and takes pleasure in your presence and existence on this green piece of dirt that we call home. Let me break it down for you. The reason for my grouchy mood was that I felt that my clean positive space had been polluted by someone invading it who no longer had access to this access-only floor. I looked up and there was someone from my past – not a bad person, just someone I used to know – all up in my face. I felt defiled. Not by what they said or did but by years that had gone by with things not being said or done – or the wrong things being said and done. Suddenly I felt like I was suffocating – like I couldn’t come up for air fast enough. It’s all well and good to want to love someone in your time and under your conditions, but that’s not what true love is about. True love is about loving someone the way they deserve to be loved and the way they need to be loved. Loving them in the language they understand which sometimes means walking away because coming back is not what the person needs now, it may be what the person needed before – when you were either not willing or not able to recognize it.
2). Life, experience, broken trust and other human interference means that we no longer love simply and purely. We love with strings attached. Simply put, I do love you and cherish this relationship – upto a point – if my language of love is communication and everytime I call you don’t answer and you never return my calls, then guess what, I withdraw my love because I feel like you no longer deserve it because you don’t appreciate it the way it needs to be appreciated.
3). Children love with no strings attached – they just love you … PERIOD! The princess comes up to me and jumps into my lap and gives me an unconditional hug and giggles. When I ask her what has tickled her silly, she smiles and looks at me in a funny way. When I ask her what she’s looking at, she whispers in a conspiratory tone “I’m looking at someone who’s my bestest friend”. When I ask her who that is, she points and giggles some more and says “You, of course!” This love affair begun on the internet when she first saw a picture I sent to her mother. She asked who I was and right there our love affair begun for her. For me it begun decades ago and is ingrained in my friendship with her mother just as my DNA is ingrained in my blood.
So why can’t we as adults trust as completely and love as freely as a child? Today I chose to love freely, to laugh from the heart and to never give up on love – the pure, unadulterated, undiluted, unpolluted love I was created to give, and in turn receive.
As if to affirm this, I attended a barbecue where two families were getting together after a long weekend of wedding festivities. The bride and groom had already set off on the adventure of their life beginning with the honeymoon and the two families from two different parts of this beautiful cocoa continent were getting to know one another. There was so much warmth and laughter there. So much love and expectation for tomorrow. One gentleman stood up to say a word and broke down to tears when he described how a man is supposed to love his wife. It was obvious that this man (probably in his mid fifties) simply cherishes his wife. She is not only his friend and partner and spouse, she is his treasure, the one flower that blooms in his garden. He spoke of her with such tenderness and fondness. His voice went all fuzzy and his eyes clouded up and he got all chocked up and it took a couple of minutes for him to regain his composure. That right there is the kind of love I want. The kind that will envelope me in gentleness and make me feel special all the days of my life. The kind of love that comes along and sweeps you off your feet. The kind of love baked in heaven’t kitchen – so pure that you know beyond the shadow of a doubt that God ordained this person to you and created them especially for you. So I’ll give a toast today – TO LOVE – WITH NO STRINGS ATTACHED – May we each find it, recognize it and cherish it for the rest of our lives.
XOXO – From a Girl-About-Town.