Always Stop For Love


I had to.

I saw it there.

On the side of the road, up in the gloaming of the meadow, flowers blooming in the trees, small candles lit and spread across the ground, a string of white circus lights strung in the tree, and LOVE glowing in the back ground.

I mean.

I had to stop.

It was a tiny wedding happening underneath a flowering dogwood tree in Golden Gate Park in a little meadow just across the way from the Stow Lake parking entrance.

I was riding my bicycle and coming up the only hill on my ride through the park, thus a place I would not be inclined to stop, not up hill, not on my stride.

But.

Love.

Glowing in the trees.

Love

Love

You can stop.

You have to stop.

You are stopping.

I mean, sometimes I just gotta stop, hop off the bike, let in the love, bask in the reflection of warm lights and blossoming trees, of love so soft and pretty and pressing, there, just there, against my heart.

Don’t roll along so fast, it says, slow down, lovely girl, wake up, look around, there it is, all around you, just waiting for you to let it in, see it there, just in the trees, glowing warm and cozy, entrancing you to stop and look around.

My heart just opened and I took a very discreet photograph and left the couple to their vows and their own private love and looked up at the sky, the stars hanging low on the horizon, the last of the light from the sunset lingering in the tree tops and I thanked God for letting me stop, see, and open my heart just a tiny bit more.

It always hurts, that opening up for love.

Being vulnerable.

“Where’s your heart, Carmen?”  My littlest charge asked me.

“On my sleeve,” I replied.

Literally and figuratively.

I am wearing a cardigan with hearts all over it.

And well, I always break my own heart, again, and again, and then again some more.

“I love when you are here, when I wake up, I love you, I love you, I love you, Carmen Cat,” he said to me today when he woke up from his nap.

He rolled over and snuggled into my side and I stroked his small warm back.

“Meow.”

I smiled.

My heart squeezed open some more.

I shared with the mom today that my mind was a little pre-occupied with the task at hand for later tonight–not this blog, but writing in general–getting out the addendum essay to my application to the graduate program at CIIS for the Diversity in Leadership Scholarship.

I had made some phone calls during a small break at work when all the planets aligned and there was a nap happening and both mom and dad were out of the house and I was caught up on the cooking (cheese tortellini with pesto sauce) and cleaning and was about to go on my own lunch break, and I could reach out.

Talk out my crazy.

Talk about how I am not paid for 12th step work and how I was afraid that discussing myself as a sober, clean, recovered woman in my community and what that looked like and how in its own quiet way is a way of being a leader.

What does that look like and what do I mean and how can I be certain that I am not manipulating what I do for my own personal ends?

One of my people chuckled at me, “Carmen, it sounds like this is a gift and you’re afraid to accept it.”

Bingo.

Oof.

Yeah.

And I want to self-sabotage by not writing the essay on some grounds that I don’t have what it takes, when in fact I do and in fact I know that by my own example I lead.

That doesn’t mean I’m a leader, I am but another trusted servant, a worker amongst workers, a fellow amongst fellows, there is nothing unique or special in me that qualifies me to be anything other than that.

But to disclaim the work I do, the way I take my recovery seriously, the things I do, the amount of time and work I put into it, it would be false humility to not recognize those assets.

Yes.

What I have been given is a gift and should I try with all my hardest I won’t ever really be able to repay it.

However, I acknowledged that what I do is important and that I walk the walk, that I don’t just talk the talk.

I am my actions.

Not my thoughts.

So I accept the wisdom and guidance of those with much more time than I living this way of life and wrote the essay.

I wrote it immediately upon coming home.

I asked to carry the message and not the mess and let God speak through me and for me, or write though me, if you will.

Which is what always happens when I let God in.

When I let love in.

The words come.

Some artists call that a muse, I call it love, I call it being a conduit for spirit and I let in that love, those words, and the things that come out often astound me.

Where did that come from?

I stopped asking that a long time ago.

Most of the time I say my prayer and just let it go.

“Thank you for what you said, I can so relate, I really needed to hear that,” she said.

“I have no idea what I said, but you’re welcome,” I said in response and hugged her.

Hugging strangers.

Stopping for love.

Accepting that I am worthy of love and lovable.

Showing up day after day to the feelings.

Potentially lonely/perpetually human/suspended and open

Oh.

OPEN.

Open your eyes and then.

And then.

The love will shine in.

I promise.

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