My name is Robin. I’m 44-years-old; single; never married; nursing a frozen heart for so long I barely remember when last it was not. Frozen.
But in 2013 I fell in love. Painfully; unexpectedly; hard
I’ve never told anyone this because, well, most people just wouldn’t understand. I have friends and family that would have tried to talk me out of it as soon as they heard. “She’s not for you, Robin. It just couldn’t work. You’re setting yourself up for a world of pain; heartache that you could barely imagine. She’s just too different!”
Judging from past experience, others would have overreacted excitedly, about how ecstatic they were for me; that it was high time and that I’d better not mess it up like
all my previous three relationships.
But in the times when I struggle with the relationship, about whether I should even be pursuing it, the words of one particularly-wise friend keep coming back to me – words of how love, at its core, has the potential to hurt; that as we pour our hearts, minds and souls into it that we lay ourselves bare. We love with such abandon that the object of our affection has the potential either to love us back or to wound us. Mortally. And yet, we have to love because the flip-side is even more ghastly to contemplate – a heart so frozen that, in time, one ceases to feel at all. Imagine!
At first, to be honest, I too suspected she might not have been right for me but I felt that I’d heard from God.
“Love her with all your heart – the itsy bitsy bit that still has some life in it,” I felt him say. “Reflect my love to her, because your concept of love just won’t cut it.”
And I screamed back at him, “But we are too different! It doesn’t make any sense! And anyway, God, she’d have to be pretty darn special for me to change!”
For one, there was the issue of our different cultures. Of course, I’d had similar experiences before – in Mongolia, France and Madagascar – and it hadn’t worked there. But I decided to give it a go – to work on thinking less of me and my needs and more of her; to at least try to learn to love her despite our differences. I decided to shower her with everything I could – my (limited) finances and time included – to try to get to know who she was and to look deeper than her obvious beauty.
Slowly, ever so slowly and feebly, I felt the faintest of beats “buda boom” in this Siberian soul of mine. And, miraculously, she seemed to be responding too.
But who is this beauty, this creature of a thousand faces, different every day – the one who was quickly winning my heart?
Initially I was drawn to her warmth, to her smile and liquid blue eyes, as if the whole of nature was beaming back at me, drawing me into her. I was intoxicated; besotted. I photographed her at every opportunity, as she became my favourite model. She could do no wrong. Even on days when she was less welcoming, icy even, I saw only her fairness, her grace, her beauty. She made me feel alive.
And then, over time, as is typical of true love, I got to know her flaws too. I began to notice her wrinkles, the individual spots and blemishes that make her who she is. I noticed how messy she could be, and a selfish (nasty almost) side that seems so incongruous to who she is as a whole. In fact, there have been days – too many to number – where she seemed to plain dislike me, where it seemed as if she were trying everything she could to get rid of me. One might say that we were almost allergic to each other. I didn’t “like” these facets of her (I still don’t) – the good, the belching, and at times the just plain boring.
Some days she curried my favour and on others treated me with simple disdain, an apathetic shrug in my direction, barely acknowledging my existence. Not all days, mind you, just some. If I have discovered one thing, it’s that she does have the ability to hurt me, and I have endured some of my loneliest times since knowing her.
“But, love,” God said, “Love her with my love, and I will continue to thaw your pitiful frozen heart. I will make it everything it can and will be.”
“Oh, and chill. Relax; laugh with her; enjoy her. Chill.”
And so here I sit at the beginning of February 2014, nine months after meeting her, my semi-thawed heart very much at peace. Throughout December I prayed often and much about whether to stay with her, or whether it was time to move on. And the answer was both a difficult to hear and exciting “yes” … I was to continue.
I’ve been apart from her for more than a month, but today I fly back to her. I’ve missed her, to be honest, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for this “love affair” (for want of a better word). Canuckistan, you are thawing my heart; I have fallen deeply in love with you and your people. It’s been a marvellous adventure; painful at times, but I’m heading back.
Buda boom. Buda boom.