One day about three years ago I was volunteering at the animal shelter, sweeping one of the rooms. This little gray cat peered out from behind a futon, cautiously checking me out. I knew he was a new arrival and could probably use a little attention, so I sat down. He jumped into my lap, curled into a ball, and started purring.
There’s an old saying that goes something like “you don’t choose your pet; your pet chooses you.” In that moment, it sure felt that way. And yet I resisted the urge to adopt him, thinking that I’d have cat fur all over my house and I’d have to deal with litter boxes and the hassle of arranging for care while I went on my many trips.
And then one morning the phrase “love is messy” came to mind. One thing I know for sure is exactly how true that is. It’s awkward, inconveniently timed, and rarely follows the set of rules one has in their mind about How Things Should Go. On the other hand, a life without love in it just isn’t worth living, if you ask me. So, a few weeks after his arrival at the shelter, that little fur ball came home with me. I’ve never regretted the decision.
These last few months, I’ve been trying to sell my home and look for a new one in NC, all while anticipating when and how my mother would need post-surgical care here in the NY tri-state area. My NC dream house sold to someone else, my mom still doesn’t know if/when she’ll have her knee replacement, and in the midst of all this, I got multiple offers for my home in the span of five days.
I’d reached a decision point: stay, or go. The realtors, both in CT and NC, advised me to take the money, put my stuff in storage, and be ready to act quickly when the next ideal home came along. All very logical, pragmatic advice.
And yet, love is messy. When I remembered back to the last time my mom was hospitalized, I was very grateful to have helped and supported her through a difficult time. I was consumed by the full-time job and yet, in hindsight, wouldn’t have done it any other way. Being a long distance caregiver just doesn’t feel right, so I said no to the attractive offers and took my home off the market. A foolish decision? According to the realtors, yes. According to me, not so much.
Logic is great, but love isn’t logical, or pragmatic, or well-reasoned. It’s just love. I’m sure you’ve had experiences like mine, where you’ve just Known. That deep Knowing that, despite the naysayers, your course of loving action was exactly what you were meant to do.
Living an authentic, truthful and purposeful life is always about what your gut, your soul and your heart tell you to do. Not about what everyone else thinks is logical, or what will look the best on your resume, or what will make everyone like you. It’s not always the easiest way to live, either.
What is Love asking of you right now? What messy, inconvenient truth are you avoiding? If you’ve been stuck, answering these questions will help you move out of inertia, indecision and self-sabotage. Living with Love is worth it.