"I will not wait to love as best I can. We thought we were young and that there would be time to love well sometime in the future. This is a terrible way to think. It is not a way to live, to wait to love." - David Eggers
I read this quote a while back and remember being taken aback like I had been smacked upside the head but was in a rush so I just jotted it on a piece of paper and shoved into a journal to remember to look at and reflect on later…then I forgot about it, until just recently when I decided I felt like writing again and found it in an old journal I hadn’t written in for ages. I unfolded the edges and read it again. And there it was again, that same smack upside the head.
I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to random things like writing papers and baking cookies. They always needed a little something extra; they were never quite right. The biggie of the bunch was love. To be able to love, I always thought, I needed a lot of work and I did and still do. I kept the thought in my head that if I can just fix this bad trait or this lack of trust or my fears, if I could just get my act together-then maybe I could love someone or someone could love me. If everything could be just so then…it could be great. The problem is, everything will never be just so. If everyone thought this way, nobody would ever love anybody. It would be a world without love, which is the saddest of all thoughts. Sure we may be not be the best at loving people, but it’s a process. All the great things in this life are a process; it’s like taking the long road, getting lost along the way but seeing so much more beauty in the meantime.
Recently, life and the circumstance at hand have me marinating on this whole idea of waiting to love. The thought I’ve kept coming back to over these past few weeks is that faith and love are a choice. We wake up every day and choose to love this person and this God. We arrange our lives in a way that will support them and grow those relationships. We strive to better them. But in the end, we’re human and flawed and we mess up and we make mistakes and we don’t love well. And in those moments, thank goodness for grace and forgiveness. We soak and sit in that grace. I love how Anne LaMott puts it, "I do not understand the mystery of grace -- only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us." We grow and learn and we wake up to another day and we try again, to love fully and well. It's a process we learn to embrace and fall into the rhythm of. We will never love perfectly, not even in the future. But we can love the best we can, knowing that we are imperfect and it will be ridiculously tough at times. We can acknowledge it for the process that is is, and we will be all the better for it in the end.
It is not a way to live, to wait to love.