The brilliant coral and red light hold on tightly as the indigo darkness brings this lovely fall day to a close. As I watched the light surrender to the darkening twilight, my mind wandered to another day when the sky did this familiar dance three long years ago.
It’s the Little Things
It had been a hectic season as I was learning what the new job I had accepted actually entailed. Gone were the afternoons on the edge of a baseball field reminding my guys to show up and be brave. My current life had none of the familiar places that grounded me in the changing of the season.
Less than a month before, I had made the decision to be real with people who earned my trust. The facades were heavy to hold and my heart was beyond exhausted from the games I had created to pretend I could control my life.
In the weeks that followed that decision, I found myself completely out of my depth at work. Thankfully, my dearest was there. At the time, he was just a friendly co-worker who wanted to understand my work so he could do his. I knew what I was doing, but lacked the ability to explain it in the way leadership needed it to be. And he showed up to help.
Our conversations were mostly business and just friendly, but I found an increasing eagerness to connect at our daily check-in to review the progress of the project. The sidebar conversations, while all completely appropriate for work, allowed me to catch glimpses of his heart.
I wonder sometimes how many hours I spent in the chair next to his desk just talking about life. I recall the light of sunset reflecting in those piercing blue eyes as he leaned back in his chair to consider some point we were discussing. I clearly remember catching myself staring at his hands for longer than I knew I should and hoping he hadn’t caught me in my inappropriateness.
An internal war waged in me in one conversation because I wanted to show him a wounded place in my heart, but I was terrified that he would see me differently. I didn’t want anything to change between us.
And that smile of his — it has always made me melt. But the first time I knew I was the catalyst, I thought my heart might actually explode. Those moments come back to my memory frequently. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for those unassuming moments that were laying the foundation for the relationship we would eventually build.
Most days when I would leave his office for my long drive home, I would have plenty to ponder about the work we were doing. Usually, there was some nugget in our conversation that left me with things to consider about life as well.
The pageant in the sky tonight takes me back to a specific drive to an out-of-town meeting where I had the first big presentation that he helped me create. It had been an awful day and I was in what I now recognize as my freeze trauma response.
I could not will myself to get out of my recliner where I was snuggling my fluffy kitty. I was binge-watching a really bad movie series long after I should have been at the hotel which was still almost 4 hours away. None of my bags were packed and I was refusing to answer my phone.
My husband called. My boss called. My best friend called. They all got my voicemail.
Eventually, I threw some clothes into a suitcase and got on the road. Driving always clears my mind and I was trying to find something to move me beyond my internal panic about my professional responsibilities.
My mind sorted through and very quickly landed on my dearest.
The kindness in his approach to others, the brilliance of his work, those shoulders, his honest approach to living, his ability to ask just the right question to move my thinking ahead, the way he is always one step ahead of me, those beautiful hands, his thoughtful way of teaching without being condescending, the integrity and humility that he exhibits whether others are looking or not, his collaborative leadership, the passion he has for things that he values, the way I feel when I am with him — safe — and how incredibly novel that is, his boundless curiosity, his gorgeous blue eyes that seem to see right through me…
For hours, he danced in my mind. I gave him free rein to see where it would all land in my thinking.
Finding my Truth
Cresting a hill, the lovely mountains were black against the fiery coral sky as the darkness of twilight continued its march into the night. For almost 4 hours, I had taken everything I knew and had experienced with him and held it to the light of truth and trustworthiness and found nothing in him to be lacking.
On that drive, I decided that I would not hide from him anymore. I decided to trust him until he gave me a reason not to. Little did I know that it would quite likely be one of the most important, life-changing, and life-giving decisions I have ever made.
A Beautiful Reminder
So three years later (perhaps even to the exact date as funny as that is) that sunset drive came rushing to my memory like an old friend and filled all of me with overwhelming gratitude. It’s not an anniversary date or a huge public milestone. In fact, he likely has never known about this seemingly small transition in my heart and mind.
There has been a lot of life since that day. I am thankful for all that we share together and look forward to our continued exploration of this love between us.
He holds my heart completely. Nothing has ever made me happier or been more satisfying to my soul. And it all began with a willingness to trust.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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