September 10, 2011
There was a wedding tonight, on the beach, under a full moon, and I remember meeting the couple the day after A. proposed to L. and how happy they were then and how happy now. We danced all night.
Now I think about the big question – ‘the proposal’ – and the courage it takes to really ask it and the courage it takes to honestly reply – either yes or no or later or maybe.
And I’m thinking that to propose is not just about love or marriage. Asking someone to share a life, knowing full well that 50% or so of such unions fail is a vote of confidence in the possibility of hope and happiness and simple stuff like holding hands. It’s a YES to the human project, no matter how messy. It’s a YES to life, the will to risk, the courage to commit: To anything really– a partner, a project, a dream, a 40 day journey towards self. On your knees in front of a piece of the puzzle that will make more sense of your life: aiming for a reality that is bigger than self –private and public, and rare and precious, and totally terrifying.
What if L. would have said no?
The thing about this big question is that it isn’t just about love and our hope to not be alone – it’s also about our deepest fear of being left all alone. The more I think about human unions and experience and witness the successes and failures of all sorts of relationships the more I realize how at the core of it is the fear of loneliness and the desire to overcome this fear.
How many proposals are rejected? Do most people propose when they’re really sure the other will say yes? Or is it often a crazy risky leap of faith?
I’ve not yet asked and I haven’t asked either. Yet? I haven’t really thought about it much, which is funny considering how many weddings I’ve officiated and the number of serious relationships I’ve been in. Maybe soon..
Maybe I’m getting less afraid of being alone, and of being alone together.
In the context of this PREPENT journey to focus, clarity, a cleaner slate with which to start the new year and be happier and more helpful and kind and successful – I think today about the simple ways of courage, the faith that comes with trust, and the last rays of the sun hitting the ocean as two lucky people look each other in the eye and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and the journey continues.
What am I ready to propose tonight? What commitment do I take on with the same fervor and delicious excitement? Or- what proposal am I saying YES to today?
Propose something. Say Yes.
I’m glad L. did.