Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Love is Vertigo (a falling, floundering thing)



(To celebrate my new web page and in honor of Valentine's Day, I'm re-sharing some old posts this weeks focusing on the topic of love.  Today's post was shared on Valentine's Day 2013. Stop back tomorrow for another look at the many ways love finds us.)

I turned to see my two and four year old children driving their yellow, battery-powered, Corvette through our small, cramped living room.  I stood in the doorway between rooms, interviewing a potential babysitter, nanny when I looked up to watch her watching them drive by.  We were in the process of moving our older two out of daycare and hoping to hire someone to provide care in our home – the news that I was pregnant had finalized the decision. 

The incredible discovery that we were expecting twins had turned our world on its head the week before and, as I stood there talking, it still felt to me that our world was tilting, spinning out of control.  In that moment, the picture of our children driving through the house in a car that took up a third of the length of our living room struck me as both absurd and entirely appropriate. 

It was then that I knew we had fallen or were falling, though toward what I did not know.  The incline was steep and the sensation would not end, still has not ended, even now some two years later.  What I could not understand then that I do now is that what we were falling into was love, a deeper and wider love than we knew was possible.   

*   *   *

When I started dating the man who would become my husband, we would sit on opposite sides of the college cafeteria with our different groups of friends and make googly eyes at each other from across the room.  Whenever our eyes met there was a spark of electricity that spanned the distance and threatened to throw us off of our chairs if we didn’t glance away with speed. 

Later, when he studied in Oregon for a semester and I traveled out to visit, we spent an evening in Portland exploring, but all I remember is sitting together on a bench in the midst of the city.  I looked into his eyes, two deep and gentle brown pools, and felt myself falling, head-long, heart over heels.
*   *   *
When my daughter, my oldest, was born after months of waiting and reading, planning and anticipation, they placed her in my arms and I looked into those small dark eyes and felt a sudden and surprising moment of recognition.  It was an aha moment, a coming home and we sank into each other like two lost souls, like two lovers clinging as we plunged into life together.  I fell hard, as I have for every baby since.
*   *   *
Recently, I interviewed yet another babysitter.  The moment she walked in the door, my four year old pulled her into the hallway to see our new climbing wall. 
“A climbing wall . . . in your hall,” she said, “interesting.”  
I felt the same old sensation, the realization that we had fallen, are falling still, head-long into our love for these lives that have sprung up among us.  We are off-kilter, leaning hard into love and our home and our hearts are showing the expansion, the wear-and-tear of it all. 
Love, my friends, is a falling, floundering thing.  To love another, to be in and for love, is to consent to live continually off-balance.  Love is a leaning, plunging leap, a heart-pounding lunge that leaves your stomach in your throat and the only danger is that we would come to prefer the safety of solid ground over this sensation of continual plummet. 
To me, this is the only way to explain God coming to live among us, God looking, leaning down toward humanity.  God so loved the world that he leapt and fell in among us and in his falling for us he freed us from the fall, for the fall, and the taste is born in us for love – for leaping, falling, floundering, foolish love.

Christmas morning 2010, the Corvette we found for $25 on Craigslist.
Sitting in the Corvette, watching Bob the Builder.

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