“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”- Theodore Roosevelt (the man in the arena)
When it comes to love, we all should strive to be like the man in the arena. Yes, you will stumble, you may even give your heart to a person who doesn’t deserve you. You may have critics that judge you that might say, “Oh, I wouldn’t have done that, or Why couldn’t you see he or she wasn’t worthy of you?”
Some people definitely are lucky. They find their Mr. or Ms. Right early in life. They don’t make many of the mistakes that I or you may have made. But the majority of us tend to find love a little later in life. The time in life where we are battle worn and have our armor of fear and worry around us. We can be afraid to reveal ourselves to the next person that enters the arena with us, concerned that they may pierce our heart in a way that we may not recover.
Vulnerable. To be exposed. To show a person all of you–the good, bad, and ugly.
Will they run? Will they understand? Will they realize that you are more than the mistakes that you have made in the past?
But you and I, being the brave ones that we are decide to stand in the arena time and time again. We show up for love. Hoping that the next person that enters the arena with us will be worthy of our vulnerability. We take the risk and expose ourselves, trusting that God will not allow them to deliver a death blow.
Each risk that we take stepping in that arena brings us closer to finding that person that will stand by us in the arena. We can be vulnerable and exposed because they have decided that we are worth fighting for. That we are the person that God has intended for them. That we can do more together as a couple than apart. That person will see your scars and think them beautiful because they will realize that you have “dared greatly” and have tried to love to the fullest.
Because to love and to fail is better than not having tried at all. Do you really want to spend your time on the sidelines criticizing every other person’s failures in love? Do you want to spend your life in fear, afraid of love and giving your heart to someone that could hurt it? Yes, you may fail, but what if you don’t? What if the next person that enters the arena with you will protect your heart? What if you experience a joy you never known?
I don’t know about you, but I think great love is worth this risk of having your heart broken. It took me a long time to feel this way, but I am tired of living on the sidelines of love. I want to experience love whole-heartedly and have a person know how much I truly love them. I want to know what it feels like to have that love truly reciprocated.
So here I stand in the arena. Hoping and praying that the man who will join me in the arena will be the one willing to protect my heart and love all that I am.