I probably should have cleaned my apartment last night. I probably should have cleaned my apartment a week ago, truth be told, but life and a case of the lazies seem to win out most evenings once I reach my floor, take out my ear buds and kick off my shoes. One of the best things about living alone is having no obligation to be tidy for anyone but yourself; one of the worst is sometimes then having more laundry crumpled on the couch than neatly hung in the closet. So, I should have cleaned my apartment last night but...and we'll go ahead and chalk this up to the Universe simply having other plans for my evening...when I flopped down on my favorite arm chair, post 2 mile walk home, my eyes immediately caught sight of a book gifted to me on my birthday this year by my dear friend, R. I'd placed it on my shelf with a few other books I've been meaning to crack open but for whatever reason, last night, this one in particular demanded to be held.
Go ahead, it called to me, snuggle up...
Three hours later, dust bunnies under the bed still needing to be vacuumed, I had read The Fault in Our Stars from cover to cover. God, I love when that happens...don't you? When a book sucks you in on the very first page and you just know it is going to be worthy of fighting off sleep until the very end? As if you pausing in your reading is somehow rude to the characters you are falling in love with; that they deserve your attention all in one sitting, instead of selfishly split up in rare moments of free time? This is that kind of book. I giggled, I sighed, I cheered, I swooned and I cried (yea, yea Trish is a crier--but I dare you not to shed a tear at the end, too). It is beautifully written. It is a love story, a life story and a reminder to embrace both no matter what.
After finishing the book my mind turned to thoughts about R, and how grateful I was for his sharing this perfect piece of writing with me. I thought about how over the past months I have watched R on a path of great learning and heart widening; I have listened as he's shared with me his struggles and lessons, triumphs and hiccups in love. And of course, I've offered my usual bits and pieces of advice when appropriate: Trust the process. We teach people how to treat us. There is no script to life. Don't give away your power. Let go or be dragged. And most frequently, I have been there.
So, R, if you are reading this...
I just wanted to say thank you for sharing both the story of Hazel and Augustus with me as well as your own tale. Thank you for being authentic and vulnerable--two traits not valued highly enough in this world. Thank you for reminding me that real men are creative, that they read good books, dance unabashedly, travel, play, share, listen and laugh freely. I know I've said this to you before, but I am so proud of the ways in which you continue to bravely explore the depths of your generous heart. I am so impressed and inspired by your ability to choose kindness at every twist and turn; to have hope and faith in your own quirky way, regardless of any hurt you may be experiencing. I just wanted to say thank you for listening to my own story, too; for cheering me on, celebrating my growth and being a friend who knows me well enough to give such a perfect birthday gift. You are worthy of exactly the kind of love you seek--nothing less. Please remember that, OK?
Deep breaths, one day at a time, my fellow tap dancer. We wouldn't want it so badly if it didn't exist, right?
"That's what I believe. I believe the universe wants to be noticed. I think the universe is improbably biased toward consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed. And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it--or my observation of it--is temporary?" - The Fault in Our Stars.