Letter to My Heart

Pentru inima mea:
(For my heart)

I've been thinking of how to "talk" to you, my Heart, about all that we've
been through these last 23 years together. At first I felt like
apologizing for all of the pain I allowed to be brought upon you. Or
maybe I would reminisce with you about all the ups and downs, the crazy
roller coaster we've been on ever since my first kiss in 10th grade...

But I think, rather than dwelling on all that past stuff, I want to focus
on where we are right now. And the first thing I want to say to you,
Heart, is Thank You.
Thank you for not completely shutting down after all I've allowed you
to endure. Thank you for keeping hope alive inside of me -- hope that
one day I would find someone who wanted as badly as I did (and as
you did) to give ALL of
himself and his Heart to another. Every butterfly in the stomach, every
kiss, every embrace, every belly laugh... Someone who wanted to share
his life with me -- every aspect of it: good times and bad,
frustrations and adventures, starting a family, making a home together,
taking care of each other, growing old together. Thank you, my dear,
precious Heart, for opening up to the possibility of true love, even
after so many crippling, painful failures on my part.

Because you did not grow weary or keep up the walls I have tried to build
around you to no avail, we have finally found him. That person we'd
been afraid would never show up, or might not even exist. Of course,
you knew before I did that we'd found him. I was too stubborn to see
it, and I kept relying on my Head -- my egotistical, self-important,
distrusting Head. This darn Head was so preoccupied with all our big
plans, and we made it a point to let you know that we weren't
interested in starting any new relationships any time soon, because we
knew (or so we thought) that it would blow up in our faces yet again.
But it didn't take long for you to convince me to at least give the guy
a chance. And it didn't take him long to win us both over.

Ever since Joe entered our lives, this roller coaster has been so much
wilder...but in a good way. You know, like the one at Disneyland that,
even though it's insanely fast and a little scary, is totally worth
every twist and turn? I feel like in the past, the coaster we've been
riding has been kinda shady, like one of those carnival ones that you know can't
be that safe if they can install it and tear it down in a matter of
hours. I never quite feel the fullness of excitement because I'm always
thinking, "Oh crap, this thing is shaking a lot and jolting me around
like a drunk driver. *covering eyes* Is it over yet?" And somehow, over
the years, I came to believe that that was just the way love was always
going to be. So I'd hop back onto the ride, strap myself in, and
recklessly pull the dang lever myself, practically indifferent as to
who I decided to bring along with me this time...and totally
indifferent to what it could do to YOU.

Thank God I finally let
you have some say in it, huh? Joe changed everything. The roller
coaster is finally the kind with a nice big, comforting Stamp of
Approval, signed by the Board of Heart Safety for its solid foundation.
And, much to my surprise, it's not boring! You know those little kiddie
rides that they call
"roller coasters" but are really just a cheesy tram ride around the
park where you can SEE all the fun being had, but you're not one of the
ones actually
having any? That's what I always kinda worried was what "settling down" would be like.

I was so wrong. You knew of course, all along, that life with Joe would
be anything BUT boring. And you also knew it wouldn't be easy, once we
got serious and realized we're pretty sure we want to be together for
life. But I feel so much more at ease now, thanks to you, because
you've helped me to understand that love is not perfect, and it isn't
meant to be. It's meant to be an ongoing journey of learning, a story
of trials overcome and joys shared together. It is two people deciding
that, yes, they are starting out "in love" and feeling all those warm
fuzzy, happy feelings when they're around each other, but that's not
what they want to base their lives on; instead, they will love each
other even if and when that elated, "honeymoon stage" fades away or is outweighed by difficulty, pain, sickness, sadness, anxiety or stress.

And here's something you've been trying to get me to understand for years that I'm only now beginning to grasp: love isn't about me. It's
not about finding (or fabricating) a person who is just like me, or who
will do certain things for me, or who can make me feel good all the
time. The best kind of love, the kind that feels better than any
"getting" sort of love like I'd been trying to attain so fruitlessly,
is love that makes me want to GIVE. Give of myself -- my time and
energy, my skills, my talents, my thoughts...and that makes me want to
give
you,
my Heart. Completely and without hesitation. Thank you for showing me
how fulfilling it is to love Joe in a way that isn't self-seeking. I'm
absolutely convinced that that's the key. The moment I decided to stop
trying to GET and GET and GET was, ironically, the moment I felt like I
had been given
everything. Because Joe got it, too. He wanted to give me his best, his all, his Heart.

So listen, Heart... I guess I just want to say thank you. Thanks for
putting up with years of torment. All my reckless and selfish decisions
that did a lot of damage to you. Thank you, again, for keeping hope
alive inside of me. If it weren't for your strength and determination,
I might have brushed Joe off the very day we met, and then where would
I be today? Where would Joe be? I shudder to imagine my life without
him. And just so you know, I do know that you still need to be cared for and protected. And I do
know that as much as Joe loves me and I love him, there will be times
when we'll hurt each other. And our hearts will ache. But it feels so
good to know that you are as ready as I am to take on this challenge.
To ride this awesome roller coaster. So whaddya say, Heart? Let's roll.

Love,
Tabitha

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