However long ago it was, in my imagination I started to build this cabin in the woods along a stream not too far from a lake but far enough away from every other man-made sound that I all can hear for miles and a day is the life of a forest breathing.
I chopped the wood that filled the fire place and I foraged around the forest to make art of lost feathers, found rocks and gnarly twigs while the birds infused my ears and heart with their songs.
I created a home to come to when I felt most lost myself but these days, found as I feel, I still enjoying sitting in the warm place where the sun pours in the window, a steaming mug of tea beside me, listening to the trees shake gossip loose from their leaves.
This is what this place was. This was my cabin by the stream and when I didn't know where else to put my words or I had no words to form into anything but felt everything so deeply, I spent long hours creating images to say everything I could only see-feel in my imagination.
And through all of this creation, breath by breath really, in case you were wondering or curious or nothing of the sort, for the past week or two in the quiet, still moments I've been collecting the words together and allowing them to rearrange themselves as they see fit, this is what I mean when I say I love you.
Please know that this love letter neither requires nor expects letters of adoration in return (although for the sake of saying so, they would be most welcome and much appreciated if they so happened to be just so)—I've discovered clarity as a rather clear way of see-feeling and so one of my many new practices for this new year is a promise I made to myself in the heart of a night to say the things I've always wanted to say, as concisely as I can say them, and so here we go.
When I say I love you (and I say it often, almost all of the time, every chance I get) I mean that you can show up broken, bloody or lost on my doorstep, and I will invite you into my home to lie down and rest until you are ready to take a leap of faith and several big deep breaths and stand back up.
I mean that we can disagree often or not speak for days or weeks or years, and I will hold a space for us to reach out across the grand abyss to mend fences and let tumble the poetry of forgiveness—and let go, let love, as the asking might say so.
I mean that no matter how raw or messy or unwound you feel, I will hold you until day turns to night and night turns to day for as long as the day is short and from this place that we both sit to the far corners of the rounded earth.
I mean that there is no mistake, nothing you can say or do that will stand in the way of me seeing you for who you are or where you are or how are you that will ever prevent me from treasuring even the most difficult moments with you because as you may or may not know, I can be frustratingly difficult, too, and truth to be told, human is what we both are.
I mean that although I love you truly, madly, deeply and for all eternity, I am dedicated to putting myself first—the ways I love myself are non-negotiable and one of the most challenging practices that take me to my edge of reason time and time again.
I mean that although it might take me a beat or two to collect my thoughts or let settle my reaction, I will stand up and speak up and out because it’s from this place of unashamed holiness that I believe we cultivate the strength to hold sustainable, depth-full connections.
I mean that liking each other isn’t always easy or necessary and so I know there will be times when we can’t stand to be in the same room or same planet together, and under all that righteousness, I will hold the light and keep the faith and if my trust should waiver or flicker for even an instant, I will pray for patience to surrender into tenderness.
I mean that what I see in you are likely many things you have no idea you are capable of—but I know, that as you stare back at me, both our eyes glittering with wonder, that you see in me things that are impossible for me to see, too and some days we might just sit, mirroring our souls and breathe-leaning into each other and that will be that.
I mean that we are all in this together and while there are certain things about me that keep me safe from certain terrifying dangers you may face, there are things about me that put me in the line of fire and wherever it is we are standing, I hope you remember that if you fall, I will do everything I can to catch you.
So when I say I love you, I mean all ways and always.