These words have been on the tip of my tongue recently. Perhaps it's because I'm thinking about the birth of Love. Only a few days ago, we welcomed this mystery into the world. It's not that we didn't know Love before this birth -- but for those of us who place our faith in Jesus -- love starts here (or somewhere near here). That may be way these words are on the tip of my tongue. Or it could be that the holidays welcome thoughts of those that we love and how we choose family. It could be that I'm thinking about the family that I'm not with this holiday season. Or it could be that I'm thinking about the family that I've chosen.
Tonight, I went to the airport to pick up one of my favorite people. He was returning from the holidays visiting his boyfriend's parents. I was excited to hear their stories (rather than just seeing the pictures on Facebook). We went to dinner and caught up and it just felt so good. I've missed him. I've really missed him and he only lives around the corner from me. I said good night by wrapping my arms around him and telling him that I love him. I've said it to him several 100 times over the two years that we've known each other -- but tonight I actually heard these words come out of the mouth. They felt thick. Each word sounded heavy like it rattled in my mouth. Not in an uncertain way but in a wonderful way. I meant it. There were no truer words in that moment. I love him. And even though the words surprised me tonight, he responded as he always does by echoing my words: "I love you too." And I knew. I was loved.
I got in my car and drove away and knew that I was loved. It was simple as that. And yet, these words hang on my lips. They're rattling there waiting to come out every time I hang up the phone with Musicman. We haven't said these words yet. Not out loud. Not to each other. They are not words that we always say. They are not words sent between two friends. They are words that articulate something other than platonic love or sisterly love or something reserved for the body of Christ. This is something else. And yet, these are the words that are there hanging on my lips as I prepare to make my way to visit him in his hometown tomorrow. I'll meet his parents. I'll learn more about him. He'll see more of me. And though all of these things are significant, I wonder if I will say these words. I wonder if these will be the words that begin my New Year.