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We mouthed "I love you" to one another across a crowded table of people, dirty dishes, crumpled napkins, and a single flickering amber candle. Reading his tiny lips and getting lost in the gleam of his perfect hazel, 6-year-old eyes, I curiously saw the image of a wave in my mind. That wave had arrows pointing forward to show me its trajectory and carried the words, "there is a wave called love. This wave is your life". This wave rose high, cresting into a beautiful arc, and began to descend. Braided into the swell was its cycle, a rising and falling from love to suffering to despair, from love to sadness and grief. And the essence of Joy was intertwined. I saw that in agreeing to love my son, to love anything for that matter, I would eventually and in due time be carried through the cycle and the sorrow-soaked moment of its grievous end.
We know this, but we struggle to stay on the wave. We are seduced by love, only to pull back from the waves accompanying friends. We don't know how to receive the full expression of love, so we never fully taste it. We unconsciously and daily say 'yes' to the wave with one part of our being and 'no' with another. We see this time and time again throughout our lives. We desire to love and commit, crave creativity and connection, open our mouths to speak, our arms to hold, and then at some point, abort. We come to the wave's crest, seeing we are about to dive headlong into pain, fear, sorrow, or grief, and we jump off the wave with only a fleeting taste of joy on our tongues. We shut down our hearts in our intimate relationships, escape into addictions, and climb into the attic of our minds. We stop writing poems. Dreams are for fools. When love is in the room with us, we keep folding the laundry and checking our phones while it sits in the armchair in our periphery, as if they will always be there. We push off from our body as if it's not ours, condemning the only home we have because we are too afraid to own what lives inside us fully.