“Love is the whole thing.
We are only pieces.”–Rumi
I am an unabashed romantic. I say that knowing how scary it is to love another person, especially after heartbreak.
I was widowed seven years ago. The pain of such a loss is something I never want to experience again–it’s raw, merciless, and dark. Avoiding that pain caused me to hide my heart away, locked carefully behind excuses of only-parenthood, career obligations and basically anything else I could come up with on the fly.
During the past years since my husband’s passing, people have asked me why I write romance novels while remaining a relative recluse in my mountain home. The answer is simple: I believe in love and happily ever afters.
That belief is why I’m laying my heart on the line, going back into the dating world at age 44, and risking the pain again for the chance at finding love a second time around. Terrified is the best word to describe how I feel, even after a few dates under my belt now, yet I’m stumbling forward on this path. I’m older–with baggage and scars and fears–unlike my 20 something self who thought herself invincible. But here I go with scary words like “widow” and “romance writer” attached to every move I make. (Believe it or not, men are actually nervous about dating a romance writer, they fear I have very high expectations!) I do believe love is worth opening my heart again, though. I do.
In my novel, Riptide, my heroine Lauren is starting life over from scratch. She has a lot of reasons never to trust again, no one would blame her if she hid herself away, but she digs deep to find the courage to embrace life again. That’s hard for all of us–picking ourselves up after tragedy, starting over, taking a leap of faith and trusting someone else when our rational minds would caution us against it.
At some point in all of our lives–if we’re adults with some mileage on us–we’ve encountered forks in the road where we need to make a choice to go forward, step back or remain at an impasse. I–like Riptide’s Lauren–choose to move forward even knowing the risks involved.
Love is worth the risk. It’s scary, often messy, and full of obstacles the second time around. Without love in our lives–whether it be from a lover, friend or family member–we are mere shells of what we could be. Go for the love, I say. Take that leap.
“Only from the heart can you touch the sky.”