June 23, 2015

Is Love Available, Even Here? {What I learned from an RV trip & a well-placed Tattoo}

pace article photo

It’s November. I’m driving my RV up the East Coast, a cold drizzle on the windshield.

Next to me, sit my wife and our two cats.

We’re free.

I’ve just quit my job. We’ve just sold 95 percent of our belongings and packed the rest into the RV. We’re living the dream.

And the dream is about to turn into a nightmare…

We stop at a Pennsylvania rest area for lunch, just south of the New York border. I search for RV parks near our destination: Beacon, NY. There’s only one, so I give them a call.

“Hello! I’d like to make a reservation for tomorrow night, do you have anything available?”

“Nope, we’re closed for the winter.”

“Oh! I’m sorry, I didn’t know RV parks closed for the winter.”

“Yup. Not enough business, and no running water.”

“Okay…thanks.” I hung up the phone.

No running water? What had we gotten ourselves into?

I frantically googled to find out how RV travelers survived the winter.

Everything came down to two options:

1. Go south for the winter.
2. “Winterize” your RV by following these 13 simple steps…

…which turned out to be not so simple after all!

And when I read that improperly “winterizing” your RV could make the sewage tank crack or explode, I panicked.

We had driven all the way from Florida to Pennsylvania, not realizing that one below-zero night could spell stinky, smelly disaster.

I berated myself for not doing more research beforehand.

I wished someone would have told us that you need special equipment to survive below-freezing weather.

I bemoaned our fate.

I shook my fist at the heavens—angry at Spirit—because it was, after all, Divine guidance that led us to pursue this crazy plan.

And as I shook my fist at the sky, I read the words tattooed on my left wrist: is Love available even here?

It sure doesn’t feel like it.

I’m feeling a lot of anger, upset and panic—not a whole lot of love. I bet there’s no love available right here, right now.

But I might as well check—if there is some love hanging around nearby, it sure would come in handy right about now! And if love isn’t available here, I get to feel justified in my indigence, which would feel pretty awesome.

Is love available, even here?

Even here—in a lonely Pennsylvania rest stop, on a cold November night, edging dangerously toward sewage-tank-crackingly chilly?

Even here—in a ridiculously impractical RV that I jumped into headfirst without knowing what I was in for?

Even here—where I honestly have no one to blame but myself for getting us all into this mess?

Even here—with my wife and my cats here beside me, loving me as I am, mistakes and all?

Even here—where I was led by following the wild, crazy, meaningful call of my heart?

Yes, love is available—even here.

You know, every time I’ve asked that question, “Is love available even here?” The answer has been,”Yes.”

In fact, it’s been closer to, “Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! You are loved beyond measure—you are loved beyond comprehension!”

If I had tattooed “Love is available even here” (as a statement, rather than a question) on my wrist—I would have dismissed it on that chilly November day.

I would have said, “Yeah, yeah, I know,” and returned to the panic. It would have seemed too superficial, too cliche.

But asking it as a question—asking “Is love available even here?” encouraged me to be curious. That curiosity got me to open up my heart, just a tiny bit—just enough to peek through to check and see if love was available.

That opening was enough to let the infinite flood of love pour in and fill my heart up to overflowing.

I had tattooed the question on my wrist so I could see it often while I typed. Seeing it as I shook my fist at the heavens was an added, unforeseen bonus.

When love filled my heart up to the brim, there was no room left for blame. There was no room left for bemoaning. There was no room left for fear.

But letting go of fear didn’t mean I had to let go of my good judgment as well. We talked it over and decided that “winterizing” and going without running water were just too much for us to handle.

We made a 3,000-mile U-turn and headed south, back to Florida, for the winter. And we did it wholeheartedly.

It was tempting to view the 3,000-mile U-turn as a retreat: returning back the way I came, head hanging in shame. However, opening my heart up to love allowed me to advance forward into the future, instead of staying stuck in what could have been.

Asking, “Is love available even here?” can’t save you from making mistakes, but it can save you from staying stuck in them. It can save you from getting attached to anger, and it can save you from getting bogged down in blame.

It can remind you to open up your heart to the present moment—to the reality of what is.

You may not need to get it tattooed on your wrist as a reminder like I did, but I encourage you, belove—to find some way to remind yourself to ask.

When things seem darkest, when hope is lost, when your heart wants to close off and never open up again, remember to ask yourself:

“Is love available, even here?”


Relephant Reads:

What I’ve Learned from Traveling Around the Country in a Lemon RV. 

How a Pit Stop Poet Woke My Heart From its Haze.

Author: Pace Smith 

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

Photo: Author’s own.

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