We left… Husbands, jobs, kids, chores, and to do lists undone and drove off into the bright spring. Shaking off months of winter stiffness in the barely budding light of spring. Her car whispered by fiddleheads peaking through pressed down leaves. Rock walls warming in the sun. First color appearing in the renewing canopy overhead.
We left. We drove toward the wide horizon. To the first warm day in the sand. To waves meeting shore, wind meeting rocks, and white skin meeting fresh air. We walked narrow streets, through an awakening summer village. Doors said open, but were closed. We chatted with strangers, savored samples, and breathed in perfumed air. We walked on a path between land and see, watching waves changing blue/green/blue before our eyes. As sun kissed our cheeks and wind stroked our hair, we talked. As old friends can do, we talked not about people… but about our hearts. There is something about being a certain age that allows us to focus.
How do we love them? These humans who need us and push us away. How do we release them? How do we let go of our own hopes and dreams for their lives and make room for them to grow and change? How do we shift out of the caretaker role and into another, less clear position in their lives. Our job was to protect them, to teach them, to train them for life… and now they must live. How do we love them now? We long to smooth the path before them, to make low the mountains and fill in the valleys. We long to keep them from the ragged edges where we fell. We long to whisper wisdom gained from years and tears… But they can’t hear us. So, we share our stories with each other.
How do we love them? These strong men who share our lives and beds. These men who have stooped low to serve their wives, children, communities. Life has pushed and shaped their strength, still they serve us and others. How do we live well with these men who we know so well, but who are so different from us. Age finds them digging in. One to his online world and work, the other to his outside world and work. How do we understand? How do we love them here? It is good to share in this mutual admiration society. No competition, no need to protect or pretend. All is love, as we long to love them well.
How do we love them? With the hours of our lives, how will we serve? How will we impact our world? Careers aren’t big enough to contain our hearts, our lives must cascade in a thousand ways. We long to follow the One who has called us by name and compare notes for the journey. At a certain age, there is as much behind as there is ahead and urgency to use it well. Blogs and books, men with missing limbs, homeless people who have names, and a circle of friends who need encouragement and love call to us… and we wonder how to love them. Friendship that spans decades is a choice. To be seen, in all your frailty and for all you long to be. We left… to reconnect to the things that truly matter. To find space to sort out what is vital. To be reminded we are not alone. And to remember how to love.