I've lived a life of self-protection.
I've guarded my heart pretty fiercely. I've kept a record of wrongs stored in this mind of mine simply because I needed to remember who is safe and who is not. I've been slow to forgive, not always because of the heinousness of the strike, but because giving up the anger or the defensiveness would mean putting down the armor that I've plastered around my heart to keep out the pain. I've had enough pain. Who needs more?
Funny thing about this armor. As much as it works to keep pain out (and really, how good of a job does it really do?), it also works to keep out love. Because doesn't love involve taking risk? Doesn't love require the weapons to be discarded? Doesn't love require a safe, supple, permeable place to settle in? Doesn't love ask for an open heart, one that can envelope, that can trust, that can rest in some semblance of peace and passion for another?
Such a quandary, sometimes. Risk versus reward?
The past week, in my marriage, I've been consciously choosing love. And all is great when love is returned. But when a hurtful word comes, to what do I run? Do I choose to pick up the discarded shields that I so willingly left behind just a few days ago? Do I start to rebuild the walls around my heart with the rocks of anger? Do I let the word that roll off my tongue sting like daggers, representations of the pain within?
Do I choose to throw my shoulders back, thrust my chest forward, and reveal a heart that is still soft? Do I still choose to love with abandon, this man who I know loves me, too? Do I offer him a heart that can be penetrated by offerings of apology? Can I love beyond my own hurt, unconditionally?
I am grateful for the simple act of choosing which road I wish to take and this I choose:
To step away from the sword. To leave my shields at the crossroad.
To ask for a different protector. One with a name.
And then, I choose love.
Linking tonight with Emily at Imperfect Prose.