it's the powerful, almost indescribable bond shared between two souls. it's the unending source and circle that exists between mother and child, father and son. it's the flow that breathes in our creative lives. it's the faith we hold in our hearts for the unseen, the unknown, the mysteries believed, the possibilities waiting.
if you have it (and we all do if we choose to see) then you have a gift of choice: perspective.
many years ago, just after john and i were married, he was diagnosed with melanoma. there were tremendous amounts of panic and despair in the weeks before we learned the cancer cells had not traveled through his lymphatic system, before we knew he would he would be okay. at the time, we were in our twenties, madly in love and unable to comprehend life without one another. i have harsh memories of being in a dreadful haze inside those first moments when i heard the news. i couldn't remember my full name, where i was, how the telephone worked, or even how to speak words. it was devastatingly bizarre - my brain seemed to pause while my heart declared its brokenness. minutes later, i was deeply struck by how little everything else mattered in my life. the world news became inconsequential. how much money we made (and whether or not we could afford the house we desperately wanted to buy) seemed pointless. the family drama, my ambition, our two, three, five year plans for our marriage - all of it seemed downright forgettable. all that mattered to me was john's health, and knowing that he was going to be okay.
it was in those weeks of processing that experience that we both came out of it with a crystal clear perspective that nothing, and i mean nothing, mattered without the element of love in our lives. even with the heartbreak, it was a tremendous lesson and gift to us as a young couple. all of these years later we don't take one another for granted. we know that when we say goodbye in the morning with kisses and iloveyous that it matters, that it could be our last. we tell each other often (with small moments of actions or words) how meaningful we are to one another, how joyous and joyful we are with/for the other. we make our time together count. of course we have our moments. every couple does. but the backdrop of our connection remains solid, centered, and gifted with perspective - i'm not sure we'd be here without that hard experience of a what could have been a devastating cancer diagnosis.
but lately, especially after what i call a power punch conversation with brene (she sucker punches you with truth, that woman), i've been thinking more about how true love plays into our success. i've noticed that i seem to be in a space not far from where i was in the weeks after john's melanoma diagnosis. i love all that's happening in my life. i'm in awe, grateful to be doing what i do full time. i'm over the moon with possibilities. but still, always still, i am reminded that none of it really matters without true love in my life every.single.day. it's a perspective that can be hard to explain when my friends and family worry that my affect is flat, when they wonder why i'm not freaking out with joyful celebrations. i am freaking out with joyful celebrations, but i'm celebrating true love more. because without its aliveness, none of this would be happening. i wouldn't be creating, writing, making things happen. and when success hits, i wouldn't be able to handle the force of it without love stabilizing the chaos. it truly is the cause and the effect.
all of this makes me remember something that happened when i attended artfest in 2006. i had just discovered the world of art, and i knew i wanted to be a part of it. totally enamored by my new love and obsession, i wanted to bring home a memento to signify the event and all that was transformed inside of me. on vendor nite (where artist sell their goods) i decided to buy a magnet with a lovely quote on it about living the creative life. the quote spoke to me and i thought it would be a good reminder to myself to keep going, to make the dream happen. when i got home, i told john all about the magic of artfest and then i pulled the magnet from my bag to show him. to my surprise, the seller mistakenly gave me a different magnet with a completely different quote. as i read the new quote about love and how is sustains us, i dropped my head in disappointment. this wasn't the quote that wrapped up my artfest experience - the one that held such meaning and significance. instead i got a quote about love? about ten moments later, i had an aha - of course, i thought. i needed this reminder about love. about how without it, i wouldn't be able to do what i was about to do: become an artist.
and now that i am an artist. now that i'm living this dream. now that i'm succeeding, i know what got me here. i know what sustains this journey. i know what holds me with all of my chaos and crazyness and ups and downs and joy and celebrations. it is love.
without it, nothing else matters.