Scrolling Instagram, I pause on a photograph, a couple whose world travels I follow. I skim the short summary of their current journey and a zillion hashtags. Two simple questions posed catch my eye, and then my thoughts. “What was the greatest risk you have taken so far? Was it worth it?” Without hesitation I answer the first question in my head . . . to LOVE, without a doubt to love someone, anyone, has been the biggest risk of all.
In my younger days, I dove into love head first. A teenage marriage, followed by teenage motherhood. Not once did I consider the possibilities of love lost, love rejected, or my love challenged by life experiences, determined to knock me down . Love was pure and simple bliss.
It wasn’t until I broke a heart, and two little hearts, that I witnessed the pain of love lost. Someone loved me, counted on my love, forever. I didn’t have forever in me. Only in hindsight could I see the risk we had taken. Statistically we were not meant to last, and I made sure of it.
In the twenty-five years that followed I experienced the heartache of being left behind, more than a few times. I decided that love was for the lucky ones, or people who deserved it, not me.
Turns out, I was wrong. Love was for those who were willing to be vulnerable, to share the secrets of their hearts, to take a risk. I was sure vulnerability would weaken the wall I had built around my heart. In fact, that was exactly what needed to happen. As soon as I acknowledged all of the love that already existed in my life, my hard shell began to crack, eventually, little by little, the wall fell away.
Since then, I have taken the risk to love many times; love in hope of mending a relationship, and love in hope of creating something bigger, a shared life. I’ve been afraid, but took the risk anyway. And in every case, regardless of the outcome, I survived, with no less love in my heart.
I still think love is risky business, and it still scares me every damn time. Is it worth it? . . .
YES, every damn time.
Quitting my job, selling my crap, and traveling all over Italy, that was easy . . . 🙂