Not all of us are good at loving. We might feel it inside of us. For some of us who love the hardest, the feeling of loving is so huge and overwhelming we don’t know how our body can possibly contain it all. We love in the words we write late at night, our fingers flying over the keyboard. We love in the songs we hum as we walk to work and in the way we meet those we care about most in our dreams.
But we don’t know how to pick up a phone. We don’t know how to share kind words and offer our support when it is most needed. We don’t know how not to run. For us, running and flying and falling headfirst into our future is the only way we know how to live. It is the only way we have survived this life.
It can take an army to teach us how to love. An army who shows us their love every single day. It takes people not giving up on us, those who reach out even when we have built walls around our heart. It can take months—no, years—to teach us how to love. Reminders to pick up that phone. To say hello, to share the feelings that live inside us, not just with the words we pour out on the page but through our actions.
And we will lose some of the people we love on the way. Some can’t take the ways in which we run. Some try—they try for years, but one day, they can’t try any more. Sometimes it takes losing them to show us how we must live from now on, because losing them is the most heartbreaking blow of all.
But here’s the thing. We do learn how to love. We take shaky steps. We call a friend even when doing so feels so new and strange. We reach out and take their hand when they are hurting. And we listen.
Loving isn’t easy. It still fills all of the spaces in our chest, pushing out on our bones until we think they will crack. It keeps us up at night as we play over all the things we could have or should have said. But now we know how to share a little of that love. We know how to put it back into the world, easing the burden on our soul. We know how to build bridges that connect us with friends near and far.
We might still run, we might carry on leaping from place to place, but we can now turn around and see all the pathways that lead us back to those we love the most. And we know how to pick up that phone.