On the radio this morning, while I was dropping kids off for school, there was a story on love for Valentine’s Day. They read a letter from a woman who said that her husband seemed to always have a cup of tea for her in places where tea was not available, and that after he died, while sorting his clothes for donation, she found tea bags in all of his pockets.
For a moment, this made me incredibly sad. I’ll never have someone like that, I thought. A person who loves me with that much care and tenderness. A person who carries tea in their pocket for me wherever they go. I will have to live without that love, and my life feels lesser for it. I started to feel very depressed and lonely, but then I thought about last night. I did an incredibly wonderful and strange show for Radio Boise called “Couchsurfer”, which was a mix of performance, storytelling, and interview. It was moderated by the wonderful Greg Hahn, and I shared the couch with talented musician and artist, Elijah Jensen of the band “With Child”.
I was nervous beforehand because it’s a very intimate setting, no mic, no stage, the crowd so close, you’re practically touching knees with the first row. I had worried standup wouldn’t work in that setting (and to be fair, I was kind of right haha), would feel weird and forced and even slightly assaultive in what is supposed to be a conversational and loose format.
But the show ended up being Something Else. I really can’t describe it any other way. There was laughter, tears, music, jokes (okay, maybe more like attempts at jokes), stories, and so much raw honesty in every moment. The love in that room felt like a movement, like it could have gone beautifully nuclear and engulfed the whole city. It was one of those shows that can never be recreated, where the audience experienced something magic and bonding that will never happen again.
People from my recovery groups came to the show because I had expressed my nervousness at various meetings, offering quiet nods and gentle smiles when I talked about my issues with trauma and addiction. My aunt and uncle, who have supported me since I was shaky open mic-er, hugged me and told me they were proud of me. A friend brought me a bag with juice boxes and string cheese for after the show, because he knows I get fatigued and sad sometimes after performing. When I got home, Arthur and Henry were in my bed, and yelled for me to hurry up, the snuggle train was leaving the station. They cuddled me and told me hilarious, made-up stories about “when they were kids” and how hard it was back then.
My daily reading today started with a quote from Mother Theresa:
Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired, Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
I am surrounded by small, faithful acts of love. There are pockets of tea for me everywhere I go, overflowing with care and tenderness. I am incredibly grateful for the heartbreak of the last year because it has opened and humbled my heart enough to finally feel the love that has sustained me all along.