Make a Wish
Posted on October 17, 2013
I used to believe that love had to be grandiose for it to be real. I suppose, like most young and naive` lovers, I thought that flowers, cards and candle lit dinners were the hallmark of a life destined for happily ever after. That was until I had my heart broken.
Heartbreak seems to shake the foundation of what we believe. Suddenly our dreams are questionable. Was I asking for too much? Maybe there isn’t a such thing as “the one.” But, if we’re lucky enough, coming out on the other side of loss can provide a good perspective shift. It can re-align our expectations and–dare I say–make us a bit more humble.
Last month I celebrated my birthday in Brooklyn. It was low key. There were none of the bells and whistles like I did in my early twenties. My cousin and I browsed the Brooklyn Flea, marveling at vintage YSL and Diane von Furstenburg. We ate flautas while laughing about a miserable summer we spent in Long Island. We even managed to throw in some wedding crashing. It was a day filled with peace.
As the night came to a close and the clock moved closer towards the end of my special day, I realized the one thing my birthday didn’t have was cake. This meant I couldn’t blow out candles and make a wish. I desperately needed a birthday wish. You see, this wasn’t any ole wish. This was one especially reserved for once-a-year occasions like birthdays. It was a wish so big I believed the angels would expedite it, first class,to God.
My cousin and I bustled down the Long Island Expressway making our way back to Brooklyn. I remembered the cupcakes, gifted from friends back in D.C., that I trekked to New York were still in my cousin’s fridge. They would have to do. The only thing I needed was birthday candles. I sat quietly, not wanting to bother my cousin with such a silly request. After all, what does a grown woman need with birthday candles?
“Cuz…” I said sheepishly. “Can we stop for candles and milk?” I wondered if she would find my request irritating.
“Sure.” She responded without losing her pace as we sped down the LIE.
That was it. She didn’t demand to know why I needed candles. She wasn’t impatient with my request. Instead she simply obliged my need.
My heart felt light.
The local corner store supplied us with birthday candles and milk minutes before its closing. Back in the apartment my cousin placed one candle in a strawberry cupcake and poured me a glass of milk. I watched as she diligently searched the kitchen for a lighter.
“Here we go.” She said while pulling an igniter out of the drawer. Without stopping, she lit the candle and proceeded with a solo of the birthday song.
Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear…
Her voice trailed off into the distance. I heard singing, but felt an overwhelming sensation of comfort and security. Maybe it was the wisdom I’ve acquired as I get older, but I instantly realized that love isn’t marked by long stem roses and dinners at posh restaurants. It isn’t empty promises or nights of passion used to mask brokenness. Love isn’t just the warm mushy feelings.
Love is my cousin’s willingness to honor the silly request of finding birthday candles at 10 o’clock at night. It was such a small thing, but her selflessness gripped my heart with gratitude.
Love is the seemingly insignificant things we overlook. It’s when your best friends cry with you about your heart break. It’s the inside jokes and unspoken bond between you and your significant other that no one else can understand. Love is recalling how your parents never missed a soccer game.
It’s your child telling you that you’re their hero and you know they mean it. Love is looking at yourself in the mirror and knowing that you’re good enough. It’s forgiving when forgiving is hard. Love is the whisper of God’s voice when your world is crumbling. Love is choosing to be vulnerable in the face of fear.
Love is not romance. Love is choosing to take moments of each day and wrap them in selfless acts of kindness, compassion and truth.
It’s sticking a birthday candle in a cupcake so that a wish can ascend to heaven.
I waited eagerly for my cousin to finish singing. Before the last words of the song left her lips, I closed my eyes, took in a deep breath and silently petitioned God.
I had no idea if it would come true. And I learned to let go of the outcome.
I embraced the sense of joy that came with placing my wish in God’s hands. Whether He answered or not wasn’t a concern. Knowing that He was listening meant I was loved and that was enough for me.
Now it’s your turn: How do you define love? Let’s talk about what love means to you in the comments section below.