“Everyone says love hurts, but that is not true. Loneliness hurts. Rejection hurts. Losing someone hurts. Envy hurts. Everyone gets these things confused with love, but in reality love is the only thing in this world that covers up all pain and makes someone feel wonderful again. Love is the only thing in this world that does not hurt.”-Liam Neeson
I am going to take in Liam Neeson’s words on Love because he knows love and he knows loss. We share the loss of someone we have loved, suddenly, painfully, tragically and without all reason. For me, my loss is still visceral and palpable though time has allowed me to “dip my toe” in the pool of connecting with a wonderful man who makes my heart joyful with his generous nature and brilliant sense of humor. He’s a wonder every time I find myself in his presence.
The great part of this new friendship is that my friend has made me a better physician, professor and fledgling priest. His energetic personality always brings my heart out of my chest, boldly now, since I met him a few months back when he took a seat near me in a meeting. A chance meeting with a man who would touch my heart in a million ways by just being present. I sensed many things even on that first day day, not the least of which, was that I was in the presence of an amazing person, the kind that comes into one’s life for a reason- perhaps to leave suddenly but nevertheless, in my life with shining magnificence.
To say that he inspires me is a gross “understatement”. To say that he forces me to reconsider about my academic and clinical world is another “understatement”. He stopped me, stopped my heart and gave me back my sense of wonder and boldness. This for a surgeon who had given up on much of my former life as an alpha woman who sailed the sea, flew the skies and faced challenges head-on (rugby player-the only female player on a men’s team). When I am in the scrum, the ball pops out because I make sure the ball pops out with my cunning and my low center of gravity. A bloody nose, bruises covering my legs and hips were no matter for me as long as I held my place with the mates on my team.
I received a short note from him recently, describing how he enjoys thunderstorms. Well, I am one of those people who spends most of a thunderstorm under my down comforter holding my ears and trying not to see the bolts of lightning. I don’t like storms on the ocean or in the air. In short, they scare the “crap” out of me on many levels. I don’t know why I am frightened of thunderstorms as I love the sound of rain, especially hitting the roof or even hitting the windscreen of my car but I don’t like the sound of thunder or the flashes. He loves the sound of the storms, pronouncing them great.
I stood in his presence about a month ago, my long beach dress blowing in the wind, his hazel eyes brilliant and most attractive though he was exhausted. I kept smiling and laughing for weeks after that short time that seems months ago. I feel a sense of calmness, acceptance and a bit of boldness returning after many months of just “going through the motions” of life. I didn’t set out to feel this way but these feelings have come and I won’t apologize for them. God has placed me in his life for a reason as well.
I find myself feeling a bit of wonderful again and I know from where these feelings originate. They are from my heart for a man who is like no one who walks the earth (though he runs it from time to time). I find myself saying a prayer of thanks in my Sunday morning mass, grateful for having met him though my feelings that he is about to leave my life are with me too. These thoughts are frightening, like the thunder and lightning but I will take each moment, each day as it comes and on his terms. I know that I am in over my head but he is not afraid of the thunder and lightning.