In Love’s Kitchen

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M_Lisha

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. – Mary Oliver

I want the next line to read “Lord, let me have lived and loved dangerously.”

I’m learning to love fear. I’m learning to be courageous enough to embrace the twisted winding journey, the perilous pathway. I’m learning the steps of a risky and unpredictable dance and I’m learning to obey the divine call to love.

I’m learning to live dangerously.

I’m making room for wanderlust. I’m finding space for the wild woman in my soul to stand on the precipice of a cliff to howl at a harvest moon. I’m diving into the pool of amazement that is life—even when it’s harsh and cold. Even when I’m not sure I’ll float. If I don’t float, I’ll flower; become the sacred lotus—a water lily.

I want to love deep, far beyond anything I can think or imagine. I want to love fear enough to let it crow bar my heart wide open. I won’t fear the temporal, the profane or worldly. In pursuit of the holy I’ll embrace its opposite in synergistic bliss. It’s the blessing of living wholly.

♦♦♦

I’ve long held in my heart the saying, Be so powerful, so dangerous in your faith that when you set your feet on the ground all hell would tremble.

There goes that dangerous woman. Her faith works by love. She loves dangerously.

My mother was dangerous. And I grew wings under her care.

I remember the floral tapestry on the big chair in the living room. Worn soft from wear, the arm rest, the back side of the chair (on the left)—criss-crossing fibers formed a patchwork of broken down love. I heard her first. I’d left my lunch money on the kitchen table and had to come back to get it. Sliding back the doors to the main entryway I saw my mother shrinking in the cushions of our favorite family chair. In a voice I only heard her use on the phone, she shared a little of her grown woman world with me. Big words shook from her lips, spilling softly through the first tears I saw stream down her face. Something shifted in her that day. I could feel the blueprint forming in her mind.

My mother lingered long in love. Maybe a little longer, always a little longer than the non-believers. She held fast to her faith in love. She also knew when to walk away. She loved dangerously enough to make the harsh choice. She turned quietly with a heart resolved to loving herself and walked away.

The bittersweet miracle of adoption reminds me how dangerously close I’ve come to love and how much I’ve learned from my mother. Her dangerous love inspired me to take a chance. A conscious, intentional choice to love pushed me to the danger zone. To hold in my heart a child born not of my blood. No marrow formed. No womb memories. I did not know them in the secret place. The bending low and utter humility required to ask for and accept a thing desired—certainly putting oneself out there for love is dangerous.

The transient and capricious nature of love makes it dangerous. Love offers no guarantees, only a promise: this love thing will hurt you. At some point love will hurt you. To love dangerously is to take the risk. Fight for love when it isn’t easy. Fight for it when it’s marred and flawed. Fight for love when it’s dirty and broken. Love dangerously. Stay. Seeing the crud in love’s kitchen should make us fall to our knees. We should be willing to wash the floor with our tears. Ours should be the dangerous choice to do the work of love.

I want to climb through the barbed wire of my faith to find a rose among thorns. I’ll walk chest forward in the storm—so fearless a single snowflake couldn’t touch the hot coal fire of my faith. I won’t draw back. I’ll find another reason to love, and another, and yet another. Let me not be afraid to find my way home.

Isn’t love like that, always the long walk home? Because our first experience of love is found in the most dangerous place of all. Home. And there’s almost always a woman at the gate.

She, the beautiful bridge to Jesus.

Her love is vulnerable and tender. Her love is a veil—a holy web of wonder. Love’s wild silky strands swaddle us in that first dangerously vulnerable embrace. She seals and saves the first drops of God-poured agape love. And we respond. We respond to the option of love. If all goes well, we learn to love at home.

Let me be that woman. Let me, with holy reverence, freely offer the option of love.

Let me comfort and protect, fight for and heal. Let me say yes absolutely and absolutely say no. Let me be creative and passionate. At the gate, may I be a strong-willed shield, immovable—but with those I love, yielding.

Let me be strong enough to yield. Let me yield to the danger of love. May I find hope in the hard thing. Let me find love and take love, fight for and make love.

Let me be that woman at the gate. She is a dangerous woman.

She loves dangerously.

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Lisha Epperson
Hi! I’m Lisha Epperson, a hopeless romantic, lover of Jesus and most things antique. I love being a wife and mother of 5. I’m hooked on books (got the library fines to prove it) and all things ballet. I work out a life of faith with fear and trembling in New York City and blog about it all at lishaepperson.com.
Lisha Epperson

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