As I returned home from work last night, I became aware of the recent news of the horrific mass shooting at the movie theater in Colorado. It’s hard to imagine how someone could be so evil as to plot the deliberate and systematic slaughter of so many fellow human beings, and I can’t even fathom what those people and their families are going through. This morning, as I was reading more about it, I read one paragraph which described a man who grabbed his wife’s hand and attempted to escape with her. At one point during the chaos, he lost hold of her hand, but quickly grabbed hold of her shirt and pulled her by her shirt. They were able to escape alive. Another young woman was not so fortunate. Apparently she was almost the victim of a mass shooting only two months earlier in Toronto but she missed it by minutes. Last night, she was not so lucky, and she was killed by this gunman, shortly after tweeting excitedly to a friend that the movie was about to start.
I don’t think anyone can really ever figure out why someone would do something like this. So all we’re left with is that it happens. It makes no sense at all, but it happens. It isn’t a natural phenomenon that comes from nature or the earth, but it happens as regularly as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and such, even though it makes so much less sense than those natural occurrences. It reminds me that even if we live our lives responsibly and safely, in the most random moment for no reason at all, it can all just end. Just like that. We really are that fragile and delicate, like glass that can shatter into a thousand pieces with the slightest wrong move.
This news made me want to call you the moment I heard it. But I didn’t dare as I’m sure you were sleeping, and I don’t think you keep your phone on at night anyway. What it really made me want to do was drive over to you and hold you. I didn’t dare do that, as I think you’d find that a bit much at this particular moment. But it’s moments like these, along with what I went through when my father was dying a few years ago, that remind me how short life is, and how important it is to tell the people you love how much you love them and to show them as well.
That said, the reality of our lives is that this has to get balanced against other kinds of principles like not rushing into things too quickly, and exploring all of the things we feel the need to explore. That is the real reason I didn’t drive over to your house last night and take you in my arms and tell you how much I love you. But I’m going to tell you in this letter how I feel. I’ve explored lots of things and lots of people. Is there more I could explore? Of course. The answer to that question could never be no, there are too many possibilities, there is always more that can be explored. But MY answer to that question is I’ve seen enough to know that I want to try to make a relationship with you work before I explore any further, because to be fair, THAT’S something we haven’t truly explored. I guess I also feel like I could spend the rest of my life searching, exploring, finding new things, and still come up with no real answers. Or I could explore us and everything we could be. And given that you feel like “home” to me, and this is a feeling I haven’t quite felt with anyone before, I can’t think of a better thing to “explore” than you; than us.
Tragedies like what happened in Colorado last night drive that point home for me so deeply. I feel like any day could be your last day, you just never know. That makes me feel like every day that I don’t see your face, kiss you, and tell you that I love you is a day I could possibly leave this earth without a chance to do so. It makes me feel like every moment we delay truly exploring “us” is another possibility we could lose the chance to do so. I don’t mean to over-dramatize this. Of course there are things other than you in my life, and things other than me in your life, and there should be. But when these kinds of human tragedies occur, it’s just a reminder of how precious life is, how short our time can be here, and how important it is to tell the people you love how you feel. That’s where I’m at, that’s what this whole thing makes me feel. I know I can’t rush you to the point I’m at; you have to come to it on your own. I believe in my heart you will, and that you and I will read this some day holding each other.