I Tried Hard Not to Care Too Much About Anybody.
I was a quiet child. I was a rebellious teen.
I got hurt a lot. My defensive walls went up subconsciously, and kept me from getting close to people. I married a man who put up with the walls, who could see what was on the other side. I made a few close friends along the way, and a lot of acquaintances.
I tried hard not to care too much about anybody.
But then my babies were born, and the walls crumbled like stale cookies. The love poured out, literally overflowing, whether or not I allowed it to happen. And once the floodgates opened, the rest of the world got pieces of that love, too. I couldn’t help myself.
Over the years, I’ve tried to keep my tough exterior, but I am more like a blackened campfire marshmallow. I cry when I’m happy. I cry when I’m sad. I cry when I realize how much I love a song, or a well-made TV commercial. There’s not much of the wall left to hold back the tears.
But I spent years avoiding people, keeping them at bay, not letting too many people get to know me. I tried not to make too many friends. Not because (as I often said) I hated people, but because of the immense fear of getting hurt.
I knew that, somewhere down the line, I was going to lose the people I loved. They would hurt me or leave me, betray me or abandon me. And if all my attempts to keep away from people failed, eventually they would die. And then I would be alone anyway.
So I tried not to love too much. Even after the kids were born, I tried not to love too much.
Unfortunately, it was already too late.
I forgot that I come from an enormous and wonderful family. My parents come from huge families, and their siblings had families, and so I have so many cousins that, even though I’ve counted them repeatedly, I can never remember exactly how many I have. And my cousins grew up with me, and got married, providing me with more cousins, and second cousins, and first cousins once removed…. And as impossible as it is to believe, they are all really great people. And I have loved them for my whole life.
And now we’re getting older. And things are happening that I don’t like. Beautiful people have died. Some are very sick. And even though I pray and pray, I can’t seem to stop the bad things from happening. And I can’t seem to stop the worrying that is supposed to be buried by my faith.
So I just keep praying. And I cry a lot more than I would like – not because I like a song, but because it makes me sad that we have such a limited time here together. All of us, together. The older I get, the shorter the time seems.
Because it is shorter.
And while I wouldn’t change my life or my past, I realize that all those years of pushing people away were utterly useless. I care so much and so deeply that, no matter what, it’s going to hurt. Bad things happen to good people, and it’s agony.
But instead of pushing away the hurt, today I will feel it. Sometimes it’s the pain that connects us to this earth, to its people, to my family, to Love itself.
Today I want to be here, and live, and enjoy each moment as it comes.
There’s simply no other way to live.