Thursday, April 22, 2010

Like Getting Hit By an Ice Cream Truck

It seems like everyone I know has been getting kicked in the teeth lately. All my emotions seem to be pouring out to my friends who need all the support they can get. So much so, that I don’t seem to have any feelings about my own life. Only on behalf of others (which, to be honest, is a real nice change of pace!) Learning about people’s struggles is a truly truly humbling thing. I mean, suffering is suffering is suffering and it’s pretty much futile to sit around comparing people’s suffering. But from amazing parenting of preemies, to divorces, to volunteering in Haiti,  to beautiful new babies being born, it’s hard to take my own suffering too seriously. Because really, it’s a mixed bag. The compelling part about life (this is such a writer thing to think) is how nothing ever seems to fall on one side of the fence or the other. The gray areas, the catch 22s, the lowest lows paired with highest highs. (It’s negative capability, man!)

It’s like getting hit by an ice cream truck.

Which reminds me of this that I wrote & experienced pretty much 3 years ago to the day at Erin’s wedding weekend. I'm sending it out now as a dedication to my friends who are struggling. 
A tough critic of mine at the time read this blog and said, “You know, Ryann, I disagree with almost everything you think. But the way that you think… you might be my hero.” I was always unsure if that was meant as a compliment or not, but I chose to look at it as a compliment. Just like I choose to focus on the ice cream and not the broken bones.


Originally dated may 3rd, 2007
Like Getting Hit By an Ice Cream Truck
Last weekend, I was so full, and my heart was so pressed upon, I could scarcely breathe. Even now, recalling it, I have a hard time coping with the amount of love that flows through me, and have often not known the way to give it.
Sometimes, I feel like the world asks a lot of me. And I was angry at the world for denying me the one thing I felt for sure I was meant to have. To be sure, the one thing I desired most. This weekend, I felt like the world was really rubbing my nose in it. In all that love I have for Erin and Joel… and Emily… and Tex. Exploiting my love of Erin, and using it as another way to break my heart about Tex and wave it in my face that my love was unrequited. I had a few moments there where I somehow managed to forget how magical and miraculous the moment I was experiencing was...
What I failed to really realize, what I could not believe because it had never been told to me in a way I could believe, is that my love was never unrequited. It was always returned, but in his way, not mine. 
My dad brought up something that next morning when I talked to him. When my grandmother Mary married her new husband, after my grandfather died, she said, "It's not in spite of my love for your Grandfather that I can love Tom, it's because of it."
What I realized is that for the last 8 years, I have been operating under the mistaken conclusion that because my heart hurt so bad, that meant that it must be broken. That I must be damaged goods in some way.
And while the ache was real, rather than being broken, it was actually just the growing pains of a heart stretching larger. The more I loved him, the more it pushed at the seams, the more it hurt. The more I think on it, the more I can't help but grow, as well, in my gratitude for that love. 
And now, I think that a great love is not someone to overcome or get over at all, but wellspring that allowed me to realize how capable of loving I really am.
That I will love someone more than I can even imagine not because I overcame my love for Tex, but because I never did. Because I refused to stop. And why should I want to? And if I did, could you even still call it love?
No, instead, I would just grow with the years, and transform its shape for the present. For years and years, I thought I had to get rid of my love for him in order to really love someone else. That I had to clean out my heart in order to make enough room.
But this weekend, I learned how much room there is in my life. My underlying fear in stopping loving him, ending my book, ending ANYTHING…was that I would lose this amazing presence in my life. I realize now that instead of expunging in order to find the love of the rest of my life, I need to build on it. Use the love I learned to give as the foundation for love in the rest of my life. A spring board. Because I have loved and still love him, I love. 
I love my life, and my place in the world and the place I know I will get to. Because I loved one person, it is PROOF I will love more., to pick myself up, scrape off the gravel, and start eating all the ice cream that is all over the street. Yum.

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