By Leah Dawang
It’s a sleepy morning. The kind of morning that looks back on the day before, heavy and empty at the same time. Sedated by exhaustion birthed out of trying your very best and still coming up short. Readjusting the baggage you’ve brought, you pull the cold handle, opening the door to your favorite coffee shop. Immersed in smells, sounds and warmth, your body reminds you, you’re alive.
Glancing too and fro, humans speak, words navigating through steam. Provoked by their connections, a feeling crawls up from the bottom of your stomach: aloneness.
Your bags grow heavier with this addition.
He wanted to meet you here to reconnect. You did your best to talk yourself – and him – out of it. You search the shop until you see Him…well, not so much as see Him as you feel His smile.
It’s kind, Love’s smile.
It’s the kind of smile that disassembles ego’s walls brick by brick while whistling a favorite tune.
Baggage landing with a thump, you scoot out the chair to sit, unconsciously reaching for the mug in front of you. It’s aroma offers some comfort and you gladly accept. Eyelids heavy, it’s unclear if tears or tired are the cause. You assume both, to be safe.
Space wraps around your feet as they dangle off the ground and memories of being a kid overwhelm your body. Small. Powerless. Too much to say much.
“It’s good to see you.”
Like racket balls, the words rickashay off the fortress of your heart. It senses intruders and without pause, fortifies the walls of shame and protection. And yet, the penetrating kindness of Love’s smile doesn’t fade. Brick by brick, he begins dismantling.
“I’m glad you’re here. I’m particularly delighted to be with you.”
Words so surprising, you can’t help but look up. He is average looking, wearing a tired sweatshirt. His hands are well worn but relaxed and folded on the table. Eyes locked on his, he makes a small whole in your heart fortress and Light floods in.
“Can you show me what you brought with you today?”
You look down at the baggage scattered around your feet, remembering your reality. Staring, tears threaten your eyelids’ edge. Your mouth stammers and stutters, tripping on every assumed consequence. But there is safety about Him. The kindest, most grace-filled friend – He who is Love.
And so you begin:
Taking the first bag off the ground with trembling hands, you unpack all that you’ve stowed away for fear of others’ scrutiny. And even more so, your own.
With heavy hands, you untangle memory after memory, thought after thought, setting each on the table, convinced this is the one that will send Love running. Or worse, he’ll demand you leave. But instead, He bends down and helps you untangle, asking questions along the way. He wants to truly know you.
The deeper in the bags you get, the deeper in your heart you go until Love looks down and sees a bag untouched.
“What’s this one, friend?”
You take a quick glance, as you work to untangle a rather dark thought heavy in your hand.
“Oh, that’s my good bag. I don’t need to unpack it.”
A small chuckle bubbles up from Love’s side of the table. With a crooked half-smile he gently nudges the bag toward you and with a nod of his head, invites you into the process.
“But these are all the good things I’ve done. I keep them as reminders.”
“I don’t need reminding, friend.”
Love helps you unzip the bag as you take out its contents.
“I try to be kind to people. I do my best to be patient and admit when I’m triggered. I give money away to those in need and try not to lose my temper when I get frustrated with my family. I do my best to be honest and focus on staying present. I fight for justice and stand up for what I believe in while trying not to judge others.”
On and on you go, piling your efforts out on the table, they overflow. You look at Love for affirmation but are surprised to see his face mixed between amused and confused.
“I work really hard to be good.” You explain.
“And it weighs you down just like the other bags.” Love points out.
After some time, with all bags empty, thoughts, memories, efforts piled high, Love takes one last look and then hops off the chair and says, “Okay, ready to go?”
Wide-eyed, you’re baffled. “How can it be that simple? Don’t we need to clean this up?”
“Don’t we need to throw it all away?”
Like water dancing over a rocky riverbed, Love chuckles again. The sweetest art you’ve ever heard. Putting his arm around you, he guides you out of the coffee shop, lighting the path with His smile.
“There are many things you don’t yet understand about me. I have no intention to throw anything away. I prefer redeemed things. Restored things. Let’s take a walk and I’ll show you.”
Lighter on your feet than you’ve ever been, you take one step after another.
“I’m bigger and kinder than you’ve ever known or hoped.”
“I always choose you.”
“And when given the chance, I gladly lay down my life for you, friend.”
“My affection doesn’t grow or shrink no matter what you do.”
“There is nothing you can do to make me love you more. And there is nothing you can do to make me love you less.”
“I love you because I love you because I love you because I love you.”
“It’s in your broken places, I find my way in.”
“Walk with me and I’ll transform you to receive and give.”
“You were born to be Loved.”