Artist Dario Robleto once said, “With nothing to risk, love can’t exist.” Maybe that quote is resonating with me because my husband and I are approaching our 32nd anniversary. Though we’d been together for two and a half years by the time he asked me to marry him, and while we’d talked around the subject a few times and the proposal came as no real surprise, and while I’d already decided I could spend my life with this person, when he proposed, I hesitated. Big time. I paced around the living room for a full twenty minutes and only said yes when he threatened to leave. Poor guy.
In my defense, I’d seen plenty of bad marriages, many of which ended in divorce, in the circles that surrounded me while growing up. All four of my grandparents had been divorced at least once in a time when divorce was uncommon. In fact, just dating someone in any sort of serious manner had seemed scary enough. But part of me knew if I wasn’t able to take a risk, I’d never be able to love.
I took another risk shortly after our marriage and left my job to pursue my love of writing, knowing it would never be an easy path. And I took a risk and had children, knowing there would certainly be times I’d get my heart broken by worry for them. And I took a risk moving to a new city, practically sight-unseen, believing I could find a loving home there. More recently, I took the risk of allowing myself a sabbatical to address personal and health issues, trusting that the work, friends, and family I love would still be there when I re-emerged.
I heard a folk singer tell a story the other night about a time when he wrote songs for a publishing company. Of the 400 songs he wrote, only one went on to achieve real success but that was okay with him. It paid for his house. You can’t write 400 songs without giving a piece of your heart to each one, and you can’t submit them for publication without a leap of faith. What amazing risks we artists take.
This is my 440th blog post. I’ve put my heart into every single one, publishing each in a leap of faith. Many posts reach exactly the right person. I know because they write to me, or share the post, or comment on my social pages. A few of my posts have been picked up elsewhere, some I’ve repurposed in other ways, none have “gone viral.” And still I write. Nearly every week. Taking all kinds of risks. And loving every minute.
I’m getting ready to launch a major new work project. It felt at first like a risky venture. Now, whether it’s perfect or not-quite so, it just feels like something else to love. Lucky, lucky me.
(Happy anniversary to my amazing husband. You were right, the risk was worth it!)
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