“Spend your years/
Spend your time/
With all these tears/
Not all were mine”*

N. Rateliff, “Thank you”

Gratitude and ego. Forever there is a balance to strike, these two dogs growling and circling in our minds, and in equal measure I’ve written about both. And, like lunar cycles, we will all go through phases of both, sometimes liberated by the good, sometimes trapped by the bad. That’s just part of it all, I suppose.

But what to say when, with a heart emerging from an icy cocoon, you find yourself in the company of that one for whom your heart maniacally defrosts? How to explain the inexplicable to those in your world, the skeptics, the haters and doubters, those that would paint you with their own tainted brushes, fearful of your happiness, indifferent because their own battles rage on, as do everyone’s? There aren’t words to sway those who wouldn’t be, and that is as it SHOULD be; the story is not theirs to tell, and it’s difficult to believe in the seemingly impossible.

So all I can think to say is “thank you”.

“Can’t hide your fears/
I can’t hide mine/
In spite of all this dear/
I think we’re fine”*

To love someone is to write them random cards and essays, to show them where your heart lies and your soul thrives, to invite them there to dance with you, in all of your vulnerable states of being. To love is to be there when needed, to look in the mirror and want a better version of yourself to give. To love them is to see them in every corner, stolen moments shared between you alone. To hear the lyrics of that one song you two heard on the road trip that one time when the coffee was just right and the world slipped away silently as the time passed so sweetly. To love is the greatest, riskiest, endeavor and worthy of each mile slogged out.

But to be inspired? To have that person as your muse, the one who fires your creative soul and stirs your deepest passions, all while silently sitting beside you on a couch, wordlessly? There is no finer emotion, save for the love you reserve for those children of yours. For the writer in each of us, the artist, the musician, the teacher, the welder, the weightlifter and the data entry clerk…..we all seek inspiration, we all want a muse to drive us through the grind, to give meaning to this wild, mundane ride. To nurture and care for those in our world is one thing, and it is a good thing, and we should indulge that; but to be truly inspired? That is what it means to TASTE life, to savor the bites and to hope the feast is without end.

Yes, of course, hurdles lie in wait. There are those rooting for failure to justify their own ego and hurt. Looking in the mirror, it is easy to revisit hurts, it is easy to be trapped by the past. But as told to me recently, you can’t keep driving down the road by ONLY looking in the rearview mirror. Sure it serves as a great frame of reference, but you gotta focus on the road ahead. Swerve like a crazy bastard if need be, but for godzilla’s sakes, keep driving down that road. Lessons learned, map thrown out the window and a desire for none other than that muse riding shotgun on a parallel path, you just gotta keep driving. Passion, gratitude and patience; one you’re born with, one you hope to strive for and one you spend a lifetime learning, for these are the true gifts of love.

“I just want to thank you/
I just want to thank you/
Sweet baby for getting me through”*

The story is just beginning, again, for us both. I can spend a lifetime of adjectives describing every way in which I am grateful for the chance to love again, so madly. And maybe, at some point, I will.

But for tonight, in this quiet little corner of my mind, all that I can think to say, at the thought of all of this, is……thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.


*To see it played live, Watch the video here!