Courage to Love

Loving someone else may be the most courageous act many of us will ever take.

Movies, music, books, popular culture–they all teach us love is supposed to be easy. We’re supposed to meet our soulmate, have that immediate connection, then bam! nothing matters from that moment on except that we love each other and we want to be together.

It’s not all wrong. But it’s a long way from the complete picture.

Some folks have a bam! moment, but not all. It takes years for some.

Not true. It takes years for all of us. Years to get to the moment, or years to build a life together, or both.

The act of loving is incredibly courageous. It’s the act of opening yourself completely, saying here I am, completely human, completely imperfect, offering you the parts of me I’m proud of and ashamed of and even the parts I don’t like to acknowledge to myself. You have the power right now to tear my heart out and grind it under your foot, because I’m offering it to you, and I really, really hope you’ll take it and have the courage to open yourself to me in the same way.

Love, real love, is an intimacy way beyond flesh, way beyond secrets in the dark. It’s laying yourself bare to the one person in the world you trust most and, because you trust them most, you fear them most. And it’s not just for today. You have to stay open, stay vulnerable, share the parts of yourself you really don’t want to share.

It’s much easier to hate. Much less vulnerable, much less painful. Even easier to remain indifferent, to not acknowledge your feelings. No vulnerability there at all.

Is it any wonder why we have such a hard time with real love?

I've been a soldier, a dreamer, a working stiff, a leader. A husband, father, example (good and otherwise), and now a survivor. I write about courage, because courage is what enables us to accomplish the impossible. If you draw breath, I love you. If you love in whatever way seems best to you and want others to love in whatever way seems best to them, I am your ally. If you believe someone is less than you because they do not love the way you do, I oppose you. If you see someone as a threat to be abused or destroyed merely because they do not look like you, or love like you, or worship like you, I am your enemy. I am a joyful and courageous man. And I stand with you who love.