There always is a moment.
For her it came on United flight 965 from Chicago’s O’Hare, as the plane broke through the rain clouds and warm sun filtered in through her closed eyes, warmed her face and hands.
It was then she realized that the only human heart who would truly be able to love her in the way she desperately wanted, no, needed to be loved, was her own big heart. Only she was capable of the love the would fill her the way she needed to be filled.
And she wondered if it was possible to love herself so deeply, after all those years of waiting for someone to show her just how lovable she was. Could she let go of her need for proof? Could she simply given in to it.
She closed her eyes and fell asleep.
When she awoke, her realization had grown from a fleeting thought to an understanding, ancient and deep. She thought of all the other women who had woken up to this fact on journeys, on buses, in taxis, in shelters and refugee camps, and suddenly she understood where thousands of generations of brave women before her found the strength to risk everything and lose over and over again only to rise like brilliant phoenixes to risk again.
No parent, no husband, no child nor friend could love her perfectly the way she needed. Knowing that it was up to her was the most liberating and welcome news of the decade.
For everything and everyone we ever love leaves, or messes up, or fades away or simply just stops. Its the nature of being human. We go.
Everyone but one human heart will one day leave us. Try as we might, we cannot escape ourselves. Whereever we go, there we are. This is the only love that won’t ever fade away, she thought. This is the only love she ever really needed.
She held this thought as a new truth as she left the plane and walked past the man in the suit saying good night to his children. She thought of all the marriages crumbling around her for want of this knowledge. How her own marriage had crumbled under the weight of hundreds or even thousands of silent, resentful and sullen accusations that his love/her love was not perfect enough to patch the hurts in their hearts. She turned it over as she glided past the airport bar where a younger Bob Dylan sang about rolling stones, and she thought of all the energy she spent trying to prove to someone else how lovable she was, only so that they could prove it right back to her.
If she could just open up to it, be brave enough to love her big hearted self the way her big hearted self loved the rest of her world, what would open up and shift? Could she finally forgive? Let go of disappointments? And accept love, messy and imperfect for the gift that it is–without measuring it up against the holes in her heart?
She carried this new realization, like a tender new born babe into the church-like silence of the empty corridor where the only sound that mattered was the sound of her boots, walking step by step home.