I had something happen to me the other day that I cannot get out of my head. One of those soul wrenching moments that stops the world around you for a brief second just to have it all rushing back in; the pain, the suffering, the love.
A dear friend of mine reached out to me because she knew I was part of the addiction recovery community. She told me that a coworker of hers had recently “disclosed the secret that she was in recovery for three years from heroin addiction”. What my dear friend did next was a turning point in my life. She asked me a simple question that has forever changed me. This conversation was in the middle of a work day, rushed, and quick so I am certain my dear friend has no idea what she even did.
The question that continues to ring in my ears, the one that has giving me hope, the question that stood in front of me like a fork in the road begging me to follow.
“I wanted to know if you had any tips or advice on how I can... love her better?” she said.
How can I love her better? My world literally stopped. I was frozen as though the world existed before this question and after and I was stuck in those moments between, trying to understand the magnitude of what just happened. Of course, I responded with the “awe I love you” and “being you is love enough” because, to be totally honest, I had no idea what to say. No one has ever asked me that before. How can I love her better?
I was not only at a fork in the road, but I was thrown into an alternate universe for a split second. A universe that asks questions about love and understanding and how to be there for someone. A universe where your adversity doesn’t break you but provides a stronger platform for us to love one another harder. A world where pain is not masked by warm smiles and the visage of “I’m too busy”, but is confronted as a united army, ready to act.
When our universe came rushing back in, I still felt the love from the place I had just traveled. The kindness and understanding, the hope. I sat there and thought about this question for days, trying to understand how such a meaningful question was just laid at my lap. Then I started walking. I started to follow that question as though my life depended on it, because let’s be honest with ourselves, our lives do depend on this one little question. Our souls are begging for this question to reach the surface, so it can be blasted into the air and breathe life back into this world.
How can I love her better? Such a simple question but has the weight of the world in 6 words. In a time where our country is divided, a time when hates seems to fill our hearts, a time when words hurt more than ever, remember these six little words. How can I love you better? How can I love them better? How can I love me better?
I feel pain most of the time than not these days. I turn on the TV and images of suffering and wreckage take up the screen in between these moments of “human interest”. When did the good become stories of human interest as though such a rare sight, we are drawn to them like the black hole they are. Since when did love become the exception? When was hate placed in front of us at the dinner table? I may never know the answers of when or how or why, and it does not matter. What matters is what we do next. So just like my friend placed this question in front of me, I am placing it in front of you.
How can I love you better?
You now stand at the gate of Oz with the password to get in. “How can I love you better?” Will you stay out side with the flying monkeys and evil witches or will you use that password to walk through the doors of the Emerald City and throw back the curtains? Will you choose to love each other better?