Dear HRart Worker,
Welcome to February, the month that I think we have all been engrained to associate with love.
I remember clearly the days of middle school loving February because of the love theme that populated my classroom bulletin boards. It was hard not to feel good looking at collections of red, pink and lacy hearts. There is one board in particular that is imprinted in my mind, it included how to say I love you in a variety of different languages. I recall spending the whole month trying to memorize the phrase in every language posted.
Today, I only know, Je T’aime, “I love you” in French.
Since grade school, my definition and understanding of love has certainly evolved. After experiencing heartache, finding the love of my life and birthing two children, I can safely say I don’t think I’ll ever fully comprehend the incomprehensible power of love.
But today, I want to talk with you about the love that surrounds us in a different way than what February is typically obsessed with.
Recently, I’ve heard this love I’m talking about referred to as “your tribe”, in the past you’d probably call these individuals your besties. Yet, these words are used to identify people who may actually love you the most. It is these individuals that bring truth to this quote from the movie Love Actually,
“If you look for it I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”
This love is coincidentally experienced in a sneaky way. For me, my best friend and I developed our relationship most organically. But, I can remember with certain clarity the day I realized she was my best friend. It was after the birth of my oldest daughter and I was writing thank you notes for baby shower gifts.
As I was writing my thank you note to my bestie, I naturally felt myself flow into an outpour of gratitude for her friendship. I don’t have the card to validate this since it was obviously delivered, but I believe this was the first time I verbalized the identifier of her being my best friend.
However, that moment does not signify the start of our sisterhood love. That moment I don’t believe exists in these types of relationships. I think when it comes to the people who show up to surround you with love, it begins as a seed upon initial connection and then it grows into a beautiful sea of roots and branches creating a magnificent tree unique to that relationship.
This imagery I hope now provides you with the clarity that this type of love creates a forest of love around you. Each tree strives the best it can at offering what it can at that particular time. Some trees are taller and grander than others, but they all have a place and together create the love that we all seek.
There are also the trees that get sick and need your love and care, as well as those that don’t make it, leaving behind a reminder of the love that was once there.
It is natural for us to have conflict and emotions with these individuals, because love is complicated. It is an emotional dance between any two individuals. However, one true tell tale sign that you have a magnificent tree in your presence, is when you find it hard to be angry.
You can be frustrated, you can be irritated, but anger can never quite be fully present, because when you begin to experience anger, it is quickly accompanied by an understanding of why whatever frustrating or irritating behavior is surfacing.
My best friend and I are often questioned about our pairing, because we are so opposite. Yet she is truly my balance and for many years she’s been that tree that I go to in my forest and sit under her mighty branches to feel safe.
Every irritating behavior or frustrating moment has always been driven by love. I know this at a level that is so deep that I can never argue with it.
This love is powerful, it easily conquers anger and I’m sure it is actively conquering so much more.
I invite you to take this month to wander your forest of love, appreciating the growth, tending to where you are needed and respecting what has come and gone.