There are signs all around us – ‘slow down’, ‘exit ahead’, ‘children playing’ – guiding us through endless situations we may encounter in the world. Have you ever looked at a sign, so common and familiar, that suddenly seemed extremely personal?
I’ve noticed this sign many times while walking through my rural neighborhood, displayed on a gate at the entrance to a field. For some reason, as I glanced at it one afternoon, it held a more personal meaning. Instead of the field, it spoke of another place – also private property and in need of protection from strangers. My heart.
There have been times in my life when I’ve needed to pause, review and change my game plan (I’m starting to realize that perhaps there are no limits on the amount of times I may need to do this). Apparently my most recent game was sucking so much, I needed to quit and start playing a new one immediately. One with a whole new set of rules and with vastly different players.
But that’s the cool thing about life – I feel like I’ve been given another chance to get back in the game. So many times I’ve looked back at how my life has gone and I realize, despite the immense challenges, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to learn, grow and try again – armed with a little more wisdom that only experience can deliver. How can you knock that? And with that comes the understanding that there is absolutely no room for regret. Not one ounce.
Nothing is static in this world. Everything is moving, evolving and changing. I think there will always be things that we wish wouldn’t change, and that’s just part of being human. But for the most part, I think change is a good thing, even though we may not always agree with that at the time.
When it comes to my heart, I’m extremely grateful for change. It made me realize how careless I was with it, how willing I was to put it so completely at risk. It forced me to look at my life and my definition of love. If things hadn’t changed, I would not be here now – feeling like an excited student in the classroom of life, waving my arm in the air after a tediously-long lecture, finally able to say “I get it!”
Eventually, I will put my heart at risk again. I want to. More than that, I need to. But when that time comes, it will be done with much more care and contemplation. And before that happens, there’s one thing I need to do. I need to begin a love affair with an old friend, who deserves to be loved fully and without judgment. I will have their back, will trust them completely and will love them forever and always. It’s a relationship I should’ve strengthened long ago.
One day soon, I will walk past that sign and will recognize it for what it is – just a sign on an old gate, common and familiar. One that has absolutely nothing to do with my heart.
Photo by Carol Good – all rights reserved