When You Need The Very Best Valentine
To the one who takes me anyway:
I know that it really might not have been.
That I could have laughed too loud — wait. I did laugh too loud — but the craziest thing was that you didn’t roll your eyes but looked into mine instead. I’ve got no bloomin’ reason why.
Why did you find my eyes and look straight and unashamed into me and what on earth could there have been about me in that moment that made you linger and come back again?
You could have been chasing after fancier, better, prettier, than kneeling down in front of me. Could have held some other girl’s hand, slipped your arm around some other girl’s waist, pulled some other woman close. How did you see in me – what I still can’t?
You took your life – and took a chance on me.You took your one whole, wild life and took your chance on me. That’s the miracle that rents the sky, that explodes a heart – that you chose me.
That’s the miracle love lets you say: I am chosen.
You could dance in the rain to that, your face upturned to the showering sky: I am chosen, chosen – you could spin around and around to that – I am chosen!
I am chosen.
Because of you — I get to inhale that miracle and it’s dizzying grace in the lungs.
And when you brought home the roses the other night?
Handed them to me with this boyish grin and all 12 of them smelled of promises made and kept?
I thought of that night when we sat on the back step and I told you that story I’d heard of the preacher who held up a rose and preached that purest things were like this petalled thing.
That the preacher had stepped out and handed that one singular rose to a woman in the front row and asked her to smell its lush loveliness, and, sure, pass it down.
So the rose made its rounds while the preacher preached purity. While the preacher preached of promises and hearts and keeping oneself pure, the rose had passed from hand to hand and was inhaled and admired and passed down.
And when the preacher had reached the apex of his angst, he had plucked that rose from the congregation and thrust it up – tattered and bent, like damaged goods – and he had bellowed: “Now tell me – who would ever want a rose like this?”
And a young man sitting there, he had felt it surge in him like a hot lava passion, rise like a thunder, four words shaking the pillars of earth:
Jesus wants the rose.
And you had turned to me and said it like the quiet relief of rain, “It doesn’t matter who you are — there’s not one of us that aren’t damaged goods.”
There’s not one of us not heart broken and there’s not one of us not bruised and Jesus wants the busted and Jesus whispers you.
Jesus whispers – You have to let yourself be loved.
You have to be bare and be seen and be brave and and let those who really love you, really have you. No one has enough time to crave mirage love and neglect miracle love and you can waste away waiting for hollywood love or you can wake to holy love here and it’s high time to just. let. go. and let yourself be loved.
Why did it take me so long to know? You only need one to love you. You only need one to unmask you and touch the hidden, damaged places and to say yes and love you free. One to know that love is not a pollyanna ending but a cruciformed beginning that has no end, one to live like love is the surrendered ink that writes our stories, the taken nail that holds a life, the carried crossbeam that supports the world.
You only need one to know that crushed roses smell the most of grace.
That is how you have lived and loved and laid down for me, all of this and more, and taking the garbage out to the road. You who have made your very life tell the love letter truth: That forever is not mere word, not a stretching measurement of unchained time, but forever is a place for the broken to come home to.
Jesus wants the rose and that’s the miracle that love lets you say: I am chosen.
And long after flowers, and even long after time, you’ve lived this for me, and that is the part that’s forever….
Day 1 of 40 Days: A Lent of ThanksLoving
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