I was up on the hill behind the house today. A fiercly cold breeze made my nose tingle. I dug my hands deep into my pockets. It is undeniably that time; when those three words start to define what I know about life and family. Or at least, they do around here, on this hill, and on a few others atop which I've perched.
Emotion seems at times to be balanced on three little words. I'm not here to judge whose words are right and whose are wrong. All I know - which I have clearly established here is little and fleeting - is that there are about a million words and a lot of intonation all of this centering on the indefatiguable and highest pedstal of human wordiness - I love you.
High school is with me so vivdly in many ways. It was there I learned that a girl walking across E-Wing with a tall kid in a lettered-leather sleeve jacket, her smile seemingly the width of the span of a bridge, had heard the happy side of three words. Another girl, arms crossed at her chest, eyes to the floor, and back to the lockers in K-Wing was on the wrong side of three-word paradise. I watched the smallest things make and break; speak to your soul, define your memories, make you resolute. It still awes me what three words uttered thoughtfully or carelessly can do: Change a life, move a mountain. Or just not.
The words that those high school couples surely passed, while throwing around the optional fourth verbs -the dredded 'don't' or reassuring 'do' - can't all be wrong. After all, I have come to define a million moments with my own girls in the same terms: I love you. Certainly those three are powerful and moving, but they are anything but alone in meaning or synonyms.
This is my kid brother, who I love and because of this I know there are three words just as powerful; equally as defining and irresistible. There is no truth to "I love you," being the most moving phrase encountered by the human heart. After all, it depends on the heart.
I don't know about you, but as the family ski holiday over New Year's approaches, I know there is a phrase just as likely to cause us to move too far too fast, blaze inadviseable out-of-bound routes, carry on loudly, saying things we shouldn't, landing in a wreck of twisted humanity on our Mama's doorstep begging for help, her hot chocolate, and sympathy, all the while still arguing our rightness and swearing to even up the score as soon as we're healed.
Those three words, completely irresistible to the human heart in our world are not I love you. But they move us just the same, and as I think about it now, they are a familial translation of the same sentiment.
Race you home.
I have yet to meet the human heart that can resist it's appeal.
Here's hoping you are raced to the pile on the doorstep this season. I will meet you there in spirit.