A Different Kind of Win


kiss_001_smlI’ve put on my philosophical hat today…so bear with me….I know this will sound sappy, but I’m trying hard to put into words a phenomenon that has in many ways left me speechless.

A year ago I wrote a post titled, “Game Changer.”  I was on cloud 9 when I wrote that because Harry and I became a couple.  We kissed.  The most natural first kiss I’ve ever had.  And we had a magical day where we connected so strongly it took us both by surprise.  I was right about it not being easy.  At times it’s been quite difficult, but I was also right about the kind of team we were building.  A winning one.  And I don’t mean the kind that gets psyched up for a game, wins more than loses and gives each other high fives at the pizza parlor afterward in celebration.  No.

Let me back up.  At least is how I see it…

On one level Harry is a success story.  He’s pretty much succeeded at everything he tried and didn’t have to try very hard in the first place.  He’s capable, talented, and has figured out how to use his skills for his good.

Along the way, he gave pieces of his heart away with high hopes and good intentions.  But as he gave, others took.  He learned that life was a game of give and take.  If I do this for you, I get this from you. In the midst of this game plan he had constructed around himself that was supposed to help make the chaos of life more manageable….there was tragedy.  There was loss.  Things got broken.  His dreams.  His hopes.  His heart.  So, on another level,  his story is sad.  It is marked by learning lessons that caused him to shrink inside of himself.  “I am a rock, I am an island.”

“Don’t talk of love, I’ve heard that word before, it’s sleeping in my memory…”  What was love anyway?  Disappointment.  Broken promises.  Regret.  He knew how to do one thing well.  Succeed.

Harry talked about The Great White Buffalo  – “the one that got away” as described in “The Hot Tub Time Machine”.  A silly movie but a powerful symbol. Only for Harry, he never found her in the first place.  He didn’t believe the kind of woman he wanted existed.  The “who” he wanted was exchanged for the “what”.  He learned to settle.

I was never so bold as to even dream of finding mine.  The who was never what I looked for.  I didn’t believe in soul mates.  If someone fell in love with me, I decided to love them back if I wanted to and that choice was usually based on how much they loved me and if my life could develop like the picture I had in my head with that man in it.  Stability, family, security, familiarity.  I accepted a man’s love. In return, I chose to love them completely.  I accepted the who in exchange for the what.

We had both sold out on true love.

He told me one day on the phone that I was nothing like the woman he would normally have a relationship with.  My demeanor, my values, my assertiveness, my reputation, too laden with assumptions on his part of a personality that would not fit his lifestyle.

I knew for a fact that Harry was not the type of man I would typically get involved with either.  There was nothing safe about Harry.  Nothing that said stability, family, values, security, familiarity.  Nothing.  Except as we talked we found quality and we found friendship.  As we talked hours disappeared like minutes.  The disappointment, broken promises, and regret we’d both swallowed our entire lives was replaced with laughing, crying, dreaming, understanding, kinship, mutual respect, and a hope that was foreign to us both.  The friendship fed something that had been starving in both of us.

What was this strange hope?  It was frightening.

Hope’s door was closed a long time ago for him.  And I was standing with a lock and key ready to shut mine off forever.  Opening it meant recognizing that a light could be found in the darkness that had become so comfortable.  So manageable.  We were both defenseless.  We had no choice.  Just as a plant has no choice but soak up the rays of the sun making it healthier, allowing it to grow, we literally had no choice.

A strange and wonderful boldness that defied warnings developed between us.  It broke old patterns, and changed the game completely.

No more give and take.  No more prid quo pro.  No more strategy.  No more island.  No more isolation.  The game was no longer about winning in the traditional sense.  There was no offense and defense.  It wasn’t about stability, family, security and familiarity for me.  And it wasn’t about power and success for him.  It was just about tending to the part of us that no one had ever seen.  It became a game about nurturing our vulnerabilities instead of our strengths.  About letting someone in instead of keeping them at bay.  And part of that was painful.  It included unveiling dark places in each of us and owning up to them and then letting them go.

We were doing the opposite of what we’d done in the past.  There was no means to an end.  We let go of the comfort of our past bad choices that left us wanting and the result was surprising.

The Bible says, “If you lose your life you will find it.”  If you abandon seeking after the world and feed your soul instead…the things you thought you wanted and could never get ahold  all of a sudden get handed to you.

Harry and I are feeding each other’s soul.  We are doing things for each other that are good, true, healthy, and meaningful.  Intellectually, spiritually, and physically we are gaining strength.  The fruit is that we are developing a sense of family.  We are finding safety and security in knowing someone on a deeper level.  We are stabilizing forces in each other’s world.  We are finding that this new way of walking with a partner is creating conditions that breed success and contentment and peace on every front.

It’s not the easy way.  But it’s the best way.  Maybe one true soul mate doesn’t exist.  Maybe there is no such thing as A Great White Buffalo.  All I know, is I’ve never had a deeper relationship with any other human being – ever.  And I know the same is true for him.

This is a different kind of win.  It’s a different kind of team.  Am I still sometimes afraid?  Yes.  Is he?  I’m sure he is.  But each step we take together makes it easier to take another.

One year and I have changed so much in accepting and liking myself.  One year and I have softened my heart and been able to give more to another person than ever before.  Imagine after 20 or 30 the kind of person I will be or the capability we will have to give and love and grow?  I’m so excited to watch us develop.

I hope and pray for many, many more years.

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