Old friend, it has been a while, hasn’t it?
Do you remember those countless, sleepless nights when we sat on my bedroom floor, planning meetings, writing grant proposals and dreaming of days when peace would reign and love would flourish?
Remember those long, passionate speeches I would give my peers on why they should care about the orphans and not their grades? Or how I would convince my teachers to offer me their spare change and extra credit so I could single-handedly save the world from disease? I spoke with such passion and vigor, I think I might have chased all doubt away.
We dreamed together. We prayed together. We left everything we had at the crossroads of hope in humanity and faith in better days.
We were unstoppable warriors and furious lovers.
But somewhere along the way, things changed. I got tired. The burden seemed too heavy and the end was nowhere in sight. I spoke of you and for you, but I no longer believed. My knees became weak and doubt was a frequent visitor.
Is this worth it? Am I really reducing child mortality rates? Am I making a dent in poverty? Am I actually saving anyone from sex slavery? Why am I doing this? Am I really making a difference in the world?
With all my strength, I tried to hold onto your hand. But it slipped.
I let go.
Those were the dark days. I cried bitterly over what I thought were wasted days. I had poured every ounce of life I had in you, but I became an empty vessel.
And oh, how I missed you. My heart ached for you and for the work we so tirelessly did. I burned with agony trying to figure out where things went wrong and why we parted ways.
But you never left, did you?
You lingered and you waited. You watched as I peeled away another layer of youth and naivety, and as I learned to color the world with complexity, and not just with black or white, good or bad.
I saw glimpses of you in my liberal arts classes. But it was in practicing my craft as a writer that I saw you most clearly. When I’d sit with strangers or friends, you would lean in and whisper, “Go ahead, ask them your questions. Follow your curiosity.”
Well, I didn’t realize you were the one whispering back then.
I needed to relearn your voice. Just like lovers do, I needed to once again study the curves on your body, the feel of your hand, the strength of your shoulders, and the endurance of your passion.
I’d be lying if I said I still believe in our fairy tale ending where we crushed injustice and peace reigns and everyone is happy. Life doesn’t work that way, does it?
I might be wiser than the foolish romantic I used to be, but I have a long way to go. I have fewer answers than questions, and more doubt than I ever had. I have so much to learn and grow.
I’m still peeling away my young, naïve layers. I’m still finding that you are more complex and beautiful than I ever knew.
Be close, trusted friend. I will tire, doubt and run away occasionally. Be patient with my fragile heart and sensitive mind. Be near and whisper your love songs to me. Remind me, once more, that the fight is never hopeless. Remind me that people matter and they are worth it. Remind me how to dream like a foolish romantic and chart the waters like a mystic.
Remind me how to be unstoppable warriors and furious lovers once more.