Spouses and lovers holding hands on the couch, slipping into each other’s eyes. A little girl and a little boy sitting on the asphalt, her hand over his bleeding knee. A big slobbery dog smiling up at his master, wagging his tail wildly. All love. And at the deepest, I feel, no different from one another.
For me, when I love, there is a quietness in my body. It’s like all the cells have come to a halt. And there’s a “shimmering down” vibrating from my head southward, a little ripple of contentment. They are feelings that often descend when I’m with my wife Jody. But they can also show up in the classroom, on the highway, in the mall. Sometimes I shimmer when I see kindness flowing from one human being to another. Occasionally, I’ve felt love after reading the written word, even messages from people I’ve never met.
I’ve ended some e-mails with “I love you”, and it’s felt totally right. Me aiming something at you. When I’m less brave, I write “With love”. Coming back to me, I usually see “Love” or “xoxo”. Hardly ever “I love you”. And that’s fine. I bet there’s a shimmer behind the word.
I’m scared to say “I love you” in person, but on occasion I’ve girded my loins and uttered the phrase. Why is it so hard to speak those three little words? They’re such blessed words. I wonder if people come my way in life who have never heard them. I need to say them, and act in a way that expresses the love I feel.
There’s a song by John Prine called “Hello In There”. Here’s a sample:
So if you’re walkin’ down the street sometime
And you should spot some hollow ancient eyes
Don’t you pass them by and stare
As if you didn’t care
Say “Hello in there. Hello”