Elizabeth - Canal Winchester, Ohio
Entered on May 10, 2008

Recently, I had a discussion with a friend about the distance that people keep between themselves and possibilities. The thing is, despite our many differences, I believe we mortals all have one thing in common – we want to share our lives – with family, friends, lovers – and the thought of being alone is terrifying. Yet, we want to do this sharing on our own terms and without any risk of heartache.

Every day, situations arise and present themselves to us wherein we can choose to venture into the unknown – trusting that the only way to grow is to make ourselves vulnerable – or, we can stay safely hidden behind our masks of feigned indifference and apathy. The problem is, when we decide the stakes are too high to gamble on pain, we lose out on love. Ironically, one cannot exist without the other. Pain and love are perpetually intertwined – fused – conjoined. We learn the hard way that when we invest ourselves emotionally, the end result is often suffering. But without suffering, there would be no compassion, and where there is no compassion, there is no possibility for love.

Some of us, in order to avoid the potential of pain, evade love at all cost – people avoid making promises, build walls, become emotionally withdrawn, are non-responsive, or callous – and all because of fear. From the house plant or pet to the commitment of a human relationship, many of us simply cannot chance investing ourselves emotionally because impending failure is too painful to consider. The responsibility to an “other” is too intimidating – and so our hearts become forgetful of the prospect of happiness. Rather than investing, for the sake of our own heart, in those possibilities, we withdraw, and blame the rest of the world for our loneliness. We are not an entirely invested race, until, of course, it comes to our own hearts.

Since the conversation with my friend, I took time to reflect on some of my own recently taken risks. And though I believe I have practiced common sense and reasonable caution, I can honestly say that some doors of opportunity have been knocked upon, and some have been knocked down. Have I experienced any pain along the way? Well, let’s just say that some doors don’t give easily, if at all, and I have some minor bruising – but it has only added color to my canvas. I have learned and re-learned a very important lesson over the years about possibilities, and although it may sound harsh and even cruel, some people matter, and some people don’t. The ones that don’t, well, they may have contributed to the mix of paint, but they are missing out on the masterpiece.

This I believe – be bold – put yourself out there – follow your instincts and your heart, even at the risk of sharing yourself, because at the end of the day, the distance we create where we pretend not to care about each other – it’s usually a facade. True, allowing someone to get close can feel like an invasion of personal space sometimes, but it can be exactly what we need. My advice – shorten the distance.