Today Daniel played golf with his boss and one of his vendors, he ate dinner out alone and went to see a movie. I had the kids all the kids but we had a good time - we ate dinner at McDonalds, where my boys got to run and climb and sweat and showed a lot of kindness towards the smaller kids who were there in ways that made my heart explode with pride. We picked up a carton of ice cream, changed into our jammas and my girls and I watched a movie on Amazon Prime.
When Daniel finally came home we had the best night, chatting about our day, snuggling into bed and Daniel was asleep in like .5 minutes after the lights went out, but after one of those weeks when you are both just trying to get through it, just kind of living around each other instead of with each other this night was the best.
I laid there thankful for a night when we finally saw each other, finally talked with each other instead of at each other, both felt loved. I realized that this is what I have been wanting for awhile - to feel open to love.
It hasn't felt like this all year. A lot of the time this year I have felt like I was walking around a screaming, sobbing mess on the inside but holding it all together on the outside. I have felt closed. Self-protecting, angry, afraid of getting hurt again.
To be open to love is, I think, one of the bravest things we can do, especially when it comes to family. During that season when your marriage is hard, or things are tense with your parents or your siblings are estranged - to be open to love is hard. It takes a lot of bravery, fearlessness and a willingness to be open to be hurt as much, if not more than we feel loved.
I remember standing in the shower one morning feeling especially hurt and closed up on myself. I remember seeing a picture of a turtle, it's hard shell protecting it - but then along came the most wonderful healing, loving water and it poured off the shell just as easily as the hurts. I remember realizing in that moment that by being closed, afraid of hurt, defensive, and self-protecting that I was as closed to being loved as I was to being hurt again. I realized that the only way to be loved was to be willing to be hurt, to be open.
To be open, for me, looks like choosing to be kind no matter how grumpy or rude the other person seems to be. To be open means starting the difficult conversations with "I know you probably didn't mean to come across that way, but..." It means believing the best about the other person, it means never giving up hope, it means choosing to reject the fear-filled thoughts as the lies that they are and walking in the truth that love wins. Every time.