We should take a moment. And be silent. For the beginning of a new year. For the gratitude we must be feeling. For the chance to be alive, still. And for the power we have.
The power to love.
The power to give.
And this other power that has me sitting up in my chair and paying attention;
The power to break other people’s hearts.
Yes. It is as dramatic as it sounds. And it is as true as it is dramatic.
We walk into relationships all the time. This should never be a blind walk. Our eyes should be wide open. Our ears perched up. Our hearts naked and soft. Ready, steady, go.
I think we forget.
We forget that we are having relationships with other people. Real people. Not machines, not aliens. People just like us. Who at the core of them want the very same we do; to be loved, and to belong.
Society doesn’t seem to help us with this. The air waves are saturated with messages of love as personal gratification; looking after one’s own heart; making sure you hold back something for yourself. There is some wisdom in this, sure. But believe me it’s only a tiny bit. It is so tiny it wouldn’t even save a small city.
We have turned love into something that only works for us. And the moment it fails in this self-serving mission, it ceases to be love. We have turned love into armour that protects our heart, and from our vantage point, leaving the other person’s heart exposed.
But love is…love is…
It is not armour.
That we can hide behind. Love by nature is open. Unfettered. And without fear. Love is careful in the holding of another heart. It cares about the other heart in the relationship. The moment you choose to love is the moment you become custodian of another person’s heart.
There is responsibility in this. There is. No matter how many times the world tries to convince us that we are only responsible for ourselves. As good as that sounds it doesn’t actually work like that on the ground.
I am because you are.
We are interconnected in a way we will never fully understand. But we have to try. So we can get it right this time round.
Responsibility is power.
Just notice. Notice how relationships fizzle and crinkle when there is no care. No nourishment. No attention. No love. Notice. Notice the long-lasting pain when a heart is broken.
This is not about having perfect relationships that have no hurt or pain. No, no, no. that is unrealistic.
This is about you and I facing the fact that the moment we decide to love someone else, anybody else other than ourselves – friend, family, lover, and child – we receive the power to break their hearts. Anytime.
Let that sink in for a minute.
No, this is not about perfection. This is about having real relationships that recognise the choices we have to make within them; that honour the power invested in each of us to safeguard, protect, love and learn to love each other’s hearts.
You are not dispensable.
I am not dispensable.
People are not dispensable.
This is why love is important. This is why this matters.
And the day we carve that onto our skins. And onto our hearts. Is the day we move a step closer to being properly human.