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Unmasking Love

“Unmasking Love”

Today’s Words of Wisdom:

“Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”

~James Baldwin

The Foda’s Take: Love. The most sought after and coveted emotion of all time. We all need love, can’t get enough of it, really. It feeds us, nourishes us, drives us to do both phenomenal and excruciating things. Love is not a possession, nothing you can wrap a ribbon around and say “mine!” but it still stays with us, shapes us, even when things end.

 Recently, I got the chance to sit down with the fabulous sisterhood of yore (aka college) and what did we talk about? Love. It was so wonderful, so refreshing. Who talks about love these days? I mean, we all do, but in convoluted, side-stepping ways, like when we talk about relationships or our work or our hobbies: all things we love. But who talks about LOVE?

Love is not just a feeling, it’s a state of being. I remember when Mandalf first proposed to me on the top of my favorite hill on a trip back to our college town. He had intended to propose to me in front of the building where we first met as BFA theatre majors, me looking chic and nonchalant in a tank top and pajama pants (shut up, it was all the rage for, like, three seconds) and him with his hemp necklace and thick brown hair that always stuck up, even without product, like it was a plant growing towards the sun. He said: “Hey. I like your pants.” And the rest is history. (Well, not really history, we were friends for three years before getting together, but for the purpose of this story, let’s just skip that part…)

Anyway, he was going to propose to me in front of that building, but there were garbage men emptying some massive dumpsters there so, needless to say, not very romantic… so instead, he challenged me to race up my favorite hill (in the pouring rain, I might add- I may have complained the entire time about my poor, ruined shoes) and I knew something was odd because I won. (He’s got over a foot on me and had recently gotten second place in a half iron man. So, yeah. I shouldn’t have stood a chance.) But I won, and standing up there on that hill in the rain, I heard the sound of his jacket unzipping. And I thought- that idiot, he’ll freeze to death! And then I turned. And he was on one knee.

I kid you not, when I said yes, the rain stopped and the sun came out from behind the clouds. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. And looking down at the ring on my finger, I felt invincible, like I could handle anything because an amazing man loved me.

Okay, so I didn’t plan to tell you the whole story. But the point is, it’s been almost five years since that day up on the hill. I’ve been ill for every single day of our married life. And I may not feel invincible anymore- but I do feel love. The strength, the beauty, the tenacity of it. I know Mandalf wishes he could heal me. He hates the fact that there’s nothing more he can do to make me better faster. But I don’t think he really knows just what he’s done for me. He’s seen me- all of me- the most vulnerable, primal bits of me that I tried my entire life to hide- and he’s still here. And when everything else is shaking to pieces around you, that tether built on the complete truth that comes with stripping down barriers becomes as strong as steel.

Love is not just a feeling. It’s a state of being. It strips us from the mask, the facade we show the outside world. It’s a truth that seeks truth, denying all attempts for subterfuge. Love is only love when it exists with no masks and no conditions.

So today I need to thank my husband. Because sometimes, when my body fails and I feel like there’s nothing left to hold on to, all I have is love. It may be taxed, it may be tested, but it has endured. And that, my friends, is a pretty amazing thing.

To Love,

The Foda

One thought on “Unmasking Love”

  1. Beautifully said. You and Mandalf are building an unbreakable bond. Illness takes away many things, but it can give things too, and a stronger love is there for the taking if you fight for it. I admire both of you for holding on with your hearts.

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