One day, we think we dare to love
but find we’ve already given our heart
and have no choice but to work our fingers
in that unexpected garden. And unimaginable
things grow, through us, within us.
— Mark Nepo, first lines of After Mira.
A dear friend recently sent me a poem by Mark Nepo, After Mira, about his thoughts on love a year after the loss of their beloved “dog-child” Mira.
With the celebration of Valentine’s Day this Sunday, and after the recent loss of my four-legged companion, I’ve thought a lot about the many kinds of love there are. And acknowledging the risk of deep grief you sign up for when you open your heart to the fullness of the love that’s always possible for anyone and anything.
Some will do anything — including closing their hearts — to avoid ever feeling this kind of grief again once experienced. But I’m choosing to focus on the gifts of the love and honor the miracle Nepo describes in the closing words of his poem:
Against our will, our heart is remade by the
angel of grief who fists the center of our life,
shaking everything dead within us from our
branches, until the heart condenses to a
diamond. Hard as this is to endure,
this too is a miracle.
In this month of Love, may you honor and celebrate the many loves in your life and find the courage to open up to so much more. And may those grieving losses in this past year find the memories of the love ever so gently easing the pain and reawakening your heart.