When my sister and I were growing up, we’d squeeze our dog, Reilly, so hard, because we loved him so much! And he was so cute! And furry, and cuddly! The squeezing to us felt like loving, just harder. Guess what? This particular dog, in opposition to his breed, hated us. We’d thought that the best way to express our love for him was squeezing love right out of him, but its actually not how he wanted us to play with him, which we learned by the numerous nips we received as children.
My favorite book of all time is by Antoine d Saint-Exupery, called The Little Prince. It’s a story of a boy who leaves his world in search of foreign lands, and learns the best things in the world are right at home. On his home planet, he has a flower, whom he loved very much, and keeps her tucked under a glass globe, to protect her from the elements. When he ventures to Earth, he discovers hundreds of flowers, exactly like his, flourishing in the open air!
“How are you living,” he sputters, so surprised, as his own flower is so delicate. “We’re flowers; we grow in the sun and rain and we live outside.” Perhaps his love for her kept her less than strong, as they’re a strong breed, flowers.
When I was little, I would catch lightening bugs by putting them into a jar. I would chase around with a jar, expecting them to continue to want to light up when they were encased in glass. I would rap on the glass and shake the jar, but for the life of me, I wouldn’t be able to get them to glow again. I haven’t chased lightening bugs in forever, but I’d imagine they’re just as delightful to enjoy while sitting in a chair and drinking sweet tea; I bet one would happily fly over to me, should I let it be.
In ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’, the lead protagonist in the story is recalling a time when she was a small child, and she’d spend all day in a field, searching for lady bugs. She’d search and search, but it was fruitless. Then, one day, tuckered out from walking up and down the garden rows for hours, she falls asleep! When she wakes up, there were ladybugs all over her. ‘Happiness comes when you least expect it’, it’s interesting; it’s also a way to deal with life’s low points.
What about oxygen?! So necessary to some things; so devastating to others; like that, sometimes, we’re in need of a little air, like the times we’re expecting something and it doesn’t work out, letting loose and shaking it off, stepping into a garden patch for a minute, and admiring the shrubs can help loosen the ties of the weary world.
Flame flickers when wind blows over it; it struggles, but can withstand the blow. However, if you cover that same flame with a glass, it fails to flicker, and dies with lack of oxygen but, you can let the light in without suffocating it.
Couldn’t we see ourselves in these flames, or flowers, or the girl, hunting for ladybugs, or the girls, loving a dog a little too tight? In the case of the Little Prince, the boy’s flower needed someone to take care of her, because that’s how she felt love, but really, he admired the strength of the roses in the field, so strongly persevering in all elements. Love isn’t weak, it gets stronger as we give it space, to grow, to learn, to challenge itself to stand on its own. Parents have to learn to let children cry, pet owners to let their goldens play well with others, and moms to wean the child from their breast.
Sacred space is sacred for a reason. Whenever you’re unsure of how to hold onto something, let it go, and allow it to come back to you in another, more magical, way. When we allow oxygen to occupy the space we’ve worked so hard to free up, we’re brighter, more consumed with a combination of elements, and not feeling suffocated, or insecure.
It’s weird how you can feel space and love; it’s magical, an emotional burden lifted, or vacancies that slowly let in new growth. A disposition sunnier, eyes made happier, trees grow taller; basic elemental progress, it keeps timing flowing and crisp leaves falling and ice cubes melting, things happen but we do, too. We’ll probably always have to let something, or someone, go in order to make something new, and greater, come into its place; kinda peachy, right?
(Just please forget that I very much sweetly wear my heart on my sleeve, sometimes I cry when I’m happy, but more often than not, my doctrine is friendship, loyalty, and love.)