Monday, February 14, 2011

Giving Up

(This morning I thought there were enough Valentine's Day posts out there, I didn't need to add to them. And then this song, dear to my heart, came up on shuffle and I couldn't resist...)

what if we stop having a ball?
what if the paint chips from the wall?
what if there's always cups in the sink?
and what if i'm not who you think 
i am?

I am terrible at making choices. Anything bigger than what to eat for dinner takes me a long time to decide. I held off declaring an English major for several semesters even though I'd taken more lit classes than anything else. But what if I decided later I'd be better off in music? Or French? Or religion? I'd go through these same questions for apartments, for jobs. The scariest thing about choosing is that it shuts out other possibilities. And I can picture those possibilities so clearly. I'm a writer; I have an excellent and well-practiced imagination. I am the master of the what if.

what if i fall further than you?
what if you dream of somebody new?
what if i never let you win
or chase you with a rolling pin—
well? what if i do?

For so long I was afraid the "What if"s would all come crashing in on my relationship, never more so than when I moved to Claremont. Because Drew would figure out what I'm like, in my most unguarded moments.

But maybe that's one of the benefits of dating a process theologian, or at least my process theologian. He never expects me to stay static, or to know any absolute answers. Instead he'd ask, do you want to be with me— as who you are, today? And I'd always answer yes. Yes to our vigorous debates over theology, literature, the relative merits of Buffy vs Angel. Yes to the spontaneous fro-yo dates he'd take me on. Yes to the gentle sound of his voice as he talked me down from being nervous, from being afraid.

what if our baby comes home after nine?
what if your eyes close before mine?

And we started talking forever, and it started getting scarier. We started talking marriage, which means entangled finances and someday children and years and years of cups in the sink and the absolute impossibility that I'd be able to make choices without changing his life, and my own.

But it's not like I'd be able to avoid those choices anyway. What was I going to do, tell myself "what if" stories but never act on them, for fear I'd make other stories disappear? Too late for that anyway. I'd already changed Drew's life, and he'd changed mine. For the better.

what if you lose yourself sometimes?
then i'll be the one to find you
safe in my heart

So a couple of months ago, when Drew knelt down on a snowy night, I said Yes for good. Yes for the person I was that night, and for the person I am today, and for all the people I'll be in the future. Because I like the possibilities that are branching off this love. Love with eyes open, love that doesn't pretend to be the only option, or even the only good option— love that is a choice.

'cos i am giving up on making passes
and i am giving up on half-empty glasses
and i am giving up on greener grasses
i am giving up
for you