I search for it. It searches for me. Its like steam rising in the air: Love. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love Manhattan…New York. Surely I am not referring to Manhattan, Kansas, for crying aloud.
Manhattan has this massive steam system that powers humongous buildings with electricity, heats them, and even cool them in the swelter of summer. Steam is like love: hot, passionate, ever flowing, and yet cozy, refreshing, and sustaining.
If you google images relating to “Manhattan steam,” you’ll see pictures of chaos or images of day-to-day life where steam is the expected background. And this is what love feels like. Either love feels like a destructive force or it sits peacefully in the backdrop, making its appropriate and appreciated contribution to our image of daily life.
Effervescently, steam is always reaching for the top. Like love, specifically when we fall in love, we experience a deeper safety, yet elation in feelings of corresponding euphoria. The deeper the love, the higher we rise.
Some of you have been burned by the friction of steam and have reasoned away love. The power of hurt and rejection has taught you to be smarter and protective. Proclamation: Love will never hurt me again!
No one likes to fall. Falling is embarrassing, its painful, and it makes us bleed. Steam burns! And yet, someone once told me, “With every death comes a revelation of a deeper beauty.”
Grief and loss is a falling upward process: through the pain, depression, and anger we learn something resilient about who we are. We learn that we are strong, valuable, that we belong, and the stabilizing force of being known. And in the darkest moments of loosing love there begins to shine a flicker of beauty- a beautiful footprint on our identity.
Proclamation: I am my own refuge. Homer returned to his home for the second time and noticed that it was the same place, but it held a very different purpose. Home means something different after loss.
I dream of being painted by Manhattan’s influence. Great clothes. Cosmopolitan vibes. Cultured tongue. Wonderful food. And in a similar way, many of us dream of being beautifully painted by the influences of love. We all want to be decorated with the joys of love, but we forget about the celebrations that come with it's pains. Again, after every loss there comes a truthfulness that sings its accuracy from within our being.
Unbridled steam is damaging and painful. A harnessed steam is embellishing, softening, wrinkle-freeing, and elegantly forceful. Love can hurt. But when we’re open to letting it sit peacefully in our context, atop our skin (no matter what it may bring), do we welcome a new life that helps us decisively fall, and energetically rise. Much like the infrastructure of Manhattan: to block yourself from steam means choosing darkness.
1 reason to fall in love: falling upward to discover beauty after death.