Fear welled up inside of me as I heard him say, “open your eyes.” It was the same kind I get due to my fear of heights. My stomach started to churn, my imagination ran wild, my body began to tingle, and my world began to spin. It was the largest, most frightening roller-coaster I had ever went on. All I wanted to do was keep my eyes shut. I figured as long as I could not see the distance between me and the ground the safer I would feel, or, should I say, the less scared I would be.
But, this was not a ride, and death was not my concern. It was far worse than that. What if I opened my eyes and I did not like what I saw?! More so, what if what I saw was a disappointed look staring back at me? What wouldn’t kill me would destroy me.
I had a choice to make. I could keep my eyes closed, protect my fear, and live in denial; or, I could open my eyes, face reality, and let come what may. Things I knew for sure and for certain: he had NO false expectations of who I am, I was not under duress to perform any certain way, and he had continually been a refuge and a safe place.
What I had to find was my heart. I had become so numb, so robotic, so inoculated. I wasn’t sure what true love looked like… even when it was looking back at me. I had so carefully tucked my heart under the clutter of duty. I hid it so perfectly beneath mounds of hurt. I covered it beautifully behind a mask of independence.
Yet through patience, diligence, and determination, he sought it out. He nurtured it to health. He removed it’s rough calluses. Over time he tore down the fortified walls I built due to the assaults my heart had previously endured.
Why then such intense irrational fear???
He was the man I wanted all of my life. He was the one I dreamed of, but did not truly believe existed. He was the man I was told was worth waiting for, and he was right in front of me. Yet, I was the one who doubted my emotional security.
Such cruelty haunted me. As long as I did not have to face the danger I was in, I was fine with my situation. However, the danger I was facing was the prospect of loving like I had never been hurt. I was getting ready to take the biggest risk of my life. I had to face a fear greater than my fear of heights. I was getting ready to jump from a perfectly good plane and had to trust him to be a well-crafted parachute.
In my head, I heard myself say, “love is a safe place to land, first I must fall.” It was from a poem I had wrote years ago, just after we first met. I had to admit, I did so enjoy the way I felt in his arms. His voice was gentle and pleasing to my soul. His smile made me radiate with happiness. He had drawn me in, and with every part of my being I wanted to answer his call.
I pondered a little longer. I had never before seen lust linger behind his pupils. There was no darkness when I had previously peered through the windows into the depth of his person. It was not him that I feared. Instantaneously, I was swept up into self-consciousness. I was overwhelmed by my inadequacies. All I could do was view my exaggerated flaws as in a fun house mirror. My short comings were suddenly thrust into the forefront of my mind.
What could he see in me that he would find desirable? What would he find in me if I opened my eyes? I was covered in shame. What could I offer him beyond my pain?
Still I found myself trapped in this moment… caught by these words, “Open your eyes.”
I knew what they meant. I knew what they would cost. This was not so much about me opening my eyes as it was about me opening my heart.