It ends up that love is free.
This information is so new.
And yet so scary.
If love is free, then what have I been chasing my whole life?
When I was in elementary school, I was the fastest girl in my class. We ran a course around the yard behind my tiny day school. The first time we ran, I didn’t think about speed or pace. I ran because I loved it. I loved how it felt when my heart began to beat quickly and how the sweat felt on my skin. Mostly I ran because I loved how my legs felt like wings when I moved that quickly, taking me faster and faster. I had always been that way as a child. The thrill of an open field left my heart fluttering. I loved to run barefoot, the grass and wet soil in-between my toes. Running the elementary school cross country course left me feeling this way too that first time. I was wild and free.
But you see.
Then people began to notice.
And soon I wasn’t just running.
I was chasing love.
Comments that may have slid off of someone else’s back landed on my seven year old heart and stayed there.
“You’re so fast!”
“That was amazing!”
Running was once a simple joy. Pure pleasure. Yet in that moment, it instantly transformed into a currency for love. Running made me special. And this specialness made me loved.
I would continue chasing this feeling of specialness for the next twenty years. I chased it through relationships and athletics and diets. I chased it through hours at the gym, calorie counts, and razor blades. I chased it through romance that looked perfect on paper. I chased it by grasping onto things that I thought made me “special” when really they were just making me sick.
And then the other day the truth arrived through a beautiful conversation.
“Love is free.” a mentor told me.
“Love can’t be free,” I told her. “I’ve been earning it my whole life.”
Did I mention that I have a hard time letting things go?
Because letting go met potentially letting go of love. So it was better to cling on for dear life. Finger nails digging in.
But this wise woman continued to explain.
Love is free because it is our birthright. The mere fact that we are here means that we came from love. It is the core of our being, it can not be taken from us. And those that truly love us, know this too. We do not have to earn their love through performance or pace. It is freely given.
This is the simplest idea.
The most gracious.
And yet the most profound.
Love isn’t earned.
It is free.
This is a simple fact. It is in our DNA.
For too many years, it felt like I was wandering around in the dark, my eyes squeezed tightly shut.
And then the truest form of love came along.
and gently whispered in my ear,
“Just open your eyes.”