They’re not enough

I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own

LD recently asked me to participate (secretly) in xocobra’s weekend of spiritual renewal.  Excepting the Christian overtones of the event, I felt both honored and challenged by her request:

[xocobra] is going through a spiritual renewal weekend… There he will receive notes and letters as a surprise. Would each of you consider writing him a note or letter of encouragement or something that would be special to him about what he’s meant to you in your life? It doesn’t need to be lengthy and anything would be great!

Truth be told, I was on call last week and had little time to think about it.  I received her message Tuesday evening when I arrived home from the office.  That night remained busy for me and I set her note aside.

Wednesday evening I found myself with a bit of time, so I returned to the e-mail and considered what I might say.

Let’s be clear: xocobra means a lot to me.  I love him dearly.  Unfortunately, and in retrospect, putting into words the importance of such people is nothing short of impossible.  Nevertheless, I tried.

I (digitally) penned the missive in the few minutes I had available, then I sent it off on its journey.

Yet I couldn’t help but feel my words rang hollow, that the trite and paltry verbiage failed completely to say that which needed to be said.

Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old

A lifetime of family and friends in this human culture of ours has taught me a profound lie offered as significant truth: When you love someone, say so.

Only after this exercise at LD’s behest did I begin to realize words are feeble instruments when it comes to the meaning of people, to the emotional bonds we share.  Saying “I love you” seems to matter, but it really doesn’t when the words are as overused as that once magical expression.

Still, too often we fail to communicate what we feel to those who deserve most to hear it.  Seldom are the moments when we really look at someone who matters and try to make clear how much they mean to us.

What needs to be said most often usually is said all too rarely.  Even more infrequently is it shown.

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

I wonder, looking back at life, how many times I’ve let a moment slip away without communicating what mattered most to those who mattered most.  More troubling is how often I failed to let my feelings manifest in something other than words. . .when words simply wouldn’t have been enough.

Whether in a comfortable silence, a kiss or a hug, a gentle touch, or an ordinary moment of togetherness, I wonder how often I’ve let slip by me the most critical seconds in life when what was needed was a demonstration of my love.

And here a day after the ninth anniversary of Henry‘s death, less than two months after the anniversary of Derek’s death, and after I visited family Saturday who reminded me how fragile life is and how easily it can end—and how all too soon it does end, I’m left wondering how I can ever make clear to those who matter precisely how much they mean to me, how important they are, how critical their collective presence is in my life.

I don’t quite know
How to say
How I feel

Those three words
Are said too much
They’re not enough

[lyrics from “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol]

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