Sledgehammer Love


Portrait courtesy of the exquisitely talented Ashmae

Friday night I drove CHB to the Intermountain Instacare to tend to a remarkably puffy, purple-blue-purple ankle. After 30 minutes of fantasizing about the sweet potato corn pudding featured in the Better Homes and Gardens I found on the waiting room table, CHB emerged from the doctor's office with crutches in tow and a fancy black boot on his leg. Verdict: A broken fibula.

It was just three months ago that CHB was driving me to the Instacare to help tend to a toe, plum sliced open by a piece of wayward glass. The previous evening we sat on the bathroom floor while I moaned melodramatically and watched my toe blood dripping onto his tiles. I buried my face in a t-shirt to quell the nausea while CHB, in his CHB way, calmly cleansed and wrapped my wounded foot. 

It turns out that CHB and I are pretty good at this healing business. We made an agreement one year ago while I was still living in Portland that I would leave the land of soy burgers and Subarus (put a bird on it!) and move to Provo so that we could tend to each other's wounded hearts. I don't think the decision was articulated in quite those terms--it was more along the lines of, "I dig you. You dig me. Let's hang out."--but we both knew that we were moving towards the center of things where the big, hot healing takes place. Basically, we both knew that we were walking into love. Not the chubby, naked cupid love, mind you. Nor the melting into a sunset while sharing a juicy mango love. No, this was the it's-about-to-get-real-up-in-here love. It's the brand of love that requires you to place your heart on the altar and pick up your sledgehammer. There's a lot of work to do busting through protective walls cemented stiff with fear, tearing down well groomed narratives, smashing in calcified layers of cynicism and regret. It's violent, but the spilling open and the breaking apart are imperative to the healing and the coming together. Which is why you have to do this kind of love with someone you trust, someone who will hold your bleeding foot and your wounded heart with care, someone who will prop up your broken ankle and your battered spirit without reservation. 

I'm proud of our courage. We get to the business of healing feet and healing hearts, CHB and I. We're in sledgehammer love. That's how we do.