Tell me how

In the morning, when I awoke and trudged downstairs, I was carrying the burden of post-sleep heaviness, weighed down by the mantle of morning responsibilities — yet with one of heart’s skylights cracked open to try to receive the fresh air of the morning’s possibilities.

I thought of a song I wanted to hear. A woman’s voice, it would be, quiet, and guided by guitar. She would sing and it would tune right into the chill morning autumn, transporting me back to the first year of being married and commuting with Kendra in the cold roads outside Calgary.

I found the track on Spotify. Rosie Thomas, from the album “Only With Laughter Can You Win,” straight to the track called “Tell Me How.”

She sang: “How am I supposed to know what love is really like, when I’ve never even been in love before? Aren’t you supposed to love yourself before you can understand how to love someone after all?”

Like being struck gently on the back of the head from someone inside my own mind, I winced, dislodging a tear from some inner reservoir that rushed towards my open duct.

Love. This call to love our neighbours, to love our enemies, to love even those we’ve called evil. It’s too hard. It’s so necessary. It’s a wild goose chase, an impossible push. We’re doing it, we’re at least working on it, a loosely-organized school of would-be world-lovers chaotically self-organizing in a church gym to ask each other questions about how.

But how? If underneath all this striving is still a self that carries such burdens, how can a love reach out? I don’t have what it takes. I’m not steady or ready enough inside my own blinded, unkind mind.

That late September chill, the shift into Autumn, the twist into quiet folk music, the gentle questions of Rosie Thomas, the quest for a world that can love, if only love could seep into this leaking, lurching life…

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