The air felt heavy on Wednesday as I walked to the climbing gym. My feet moved forward, while my mind spun.
I attempted to climb, because that is what usually helps me when things are hard, but it didn’t work this time. I lay on the mats, filled with sadness and fear.
Thinking that maybe I should just go home to curl up and cry, I stood up and stared at the bouldering wall.
Then I turned to see a friend approaching. Without a word, he wrapped me in a hug. And in that hug, I still felt the fear and sadness, but I also felt love through the pain.
Hate might have won this round, but love doesn’t give up.
There were many more hugs, from many more friends, the rest of the day.
This reminded me that I am so lucky to have a community of people to lift me up when I need it. And why I live my life the way I do, doing my best to connect with people everywhere.
I’m a nomad at heart. Though I haven’t taken to the road to be completely location independent, I can certainly see that in my future (especially now that I’m obsessed with climbing and see the appeal of the dirtbag #vanlife). But I have moved around – and traveled – a lot.
You might think that this would make it hard to become a part of a community (especially for a once-shy introvert), but I have found the opposite. Relocating from city to city and traveling to new places gives me the opportunity to meet more people that understand, encourage, and inspire me, and allows me to extend what I consider my family beyond the borders of wherever I might find myself at the moment.
Now, more than ever, I am grateful for all the people I get to call my friends.
And I know that love won’t change things – we need to work and fight for what we believe in.
Things are going to be hard for a while now.
So we try harder. And we try together.
Love itself might not conquer all, but love gives us the strength to conquer all.
And if you need a hug, I’m always here.