When I purchased my first brand new car, I must say, the experience was absolutely wonderful. The first time I saw that car, the only thing on that lot that mattered was THAT car. The test drive; oh my God! I had never experienced anything so smooth and powerful. I signed the contract. After I gave my signature, like a child receiving the greatest gift in the world, I received my keys. After knowing that the car was mine, it was brought around to me. My how that car shined! The sun seemed to shine differently. The road felt different. The music played on the radio sounded different. It was more full; more vibrant. When parking that car, I parked far away from wherever I was going because I didn’t want any harm to come to that car. I loved that car. As time passed, I washed the car less frequently. If I drove a little over 3,000 miles, it was okay. I’d get the oil changed eventually. The more time passed, the more I dreamt of owning a new car. You see, I loved the smell of new cars. I loved the feel. I loved the sleek, new look. As I reflect on Love, I often think of the lot. Like the purchase of a brand new car, you can’t Love the first person that makes you smile, pause, or wonder. No, you ultimately end up deciding on the person that meets most of your wants and needs. As I have grown, I have grown to understand that other than yourself, no one can fulfill or satisfy everything inside of you. Honestly, I believe that is too much pressure to place on another person. So, I tried my hand at Love. As I have written in the past, I will write now; I failed at understanding Love. Me, I was in Love with the beginning. I was in Love with the first look, the first time we touched hands, the first time we kissed, the first time that we made love, and the first time that the morning sun gently kissed our faces waking us up at the same time in the same place. I was absolutely smitten with new. Regretfully and immaturely, when I was sometimes engaged in verbal discourse (arguments) with my partners, I would lead with, “in the beginning, everything was so perfect.” Like my first new car, everything is great in the beginning. The work of maintaining Love is where I fell short. I didn’t know how to work at Love because I had never seen Love work. I was ill equipped. I didn’t realize that true Love isn’t based on the beginning. True Love is born in the middle. In the middle, you’re forced to let your representative rest in order to test the waters of walking as your true self. You’re not always well dressed. You’re not always groomed. You’re not always at the best restaurants, listening to the latest music, while entertaining people that you probably have nothing in common with. No, in the middle, we’re going to Walmart in order to buy toilet paper, shampoo, snacks of a certain kind, and lounging in our favorite pajamas. In the middle, we sometimes don’t like each other, but it’s clear that we Love each other. In the middle, when you’re afraid, you’re not afraid to say so. In the middle, it’s okay to say, “help me.” In the middle, the sex isn’t always spectacular, but it’s always good. You see, in the middle, it’s clear that you recognize some things that you don’t like, but the things that you Love clearly outweighs them. In the past, I was a used car in search of an owner who didn’t realize that I was used. I wanted an owner to believe that I was brand new, with zero miles, the new car scent, and a warranty that was fully intact. In real life, I have so many miles, my odometer has stopped counting, my scent now permeates frankincense and Egyptian sandalwood, and I have learned to repair the broken parts of me. My prayer is that I lose myself in the middle. This way, I will never arrive at Love’s end. Even when my time on this side of the Sun is over, the middle will continue to grow because true Love never dies. Why? Nothing real can ever be broken, and true Love never dies……Patrick
This week, please do something for someone other than yourself for no reason at all other than to make their lives better. Also, if you make it to where you’re going, please don’t forget to leave a map for the rest of us. Always Choose Love Because Love Changes Everything.