Revelations are quirky little things. They come in many sizes -- some towering above you, others a faint breeze that you almost miss... but then, just as it slips past, you realize what has happened.

Sometimes we already know what is coming before it is revealed. It's that gentle probing in the back of your mind -- most often something you wish to dismiss but it refuses to be forgotten. It's the bump in the carpet that you only sometimes step on. But when you do, you feel sheepish for having forgotten it was there. Sheepish, and more often than not, a little bruised.

Then again, there are the stark realizations that slap us in the face -- like opening the door on a winter day. The chill in the air can be so unexpected that it actually becomes offensive. You knew it was winter, yet you forgot how harsh the wind would be against your unprotected skin.

This is what happens when we begin seeking for answers. The whispers and late night hauntings that were once our what-if's become truths that we are forced to deal with. Often, faced with these new yet familiar answers, we find ourselves to be less put-together than we had hoped.

Words slip past our lips that should never have perched on our tongues. We do things that seem uncharacteristic. We find we have offended, and can not turn back the clock.

I find that it is my constant fear that I will say some unalterable word, make an unforgivable accusation or even remain silent just a moment too long.

Relationships are quirky little things. Like patterns -- like knots -- as they stretch out over time they twist and turn and revisit themselves. We never really leave the old behind us ... it is always hiding in the corner, waiting to remind us of what was, and what could be. I've watched people -- I've been one of them -- step away from a loved one not because of what they are doing right now, but because the memory of what they used to do actually overpowered the changes they had made.

I have been told (and I have read many times) to dream like you will live forever, live like you will die tomorrow, and love as if you have never been hurt. In passing, this may not seem so great a charge. But I challenge anyone to do this -- to truly love as if you have never been hurt. Recently a friend of mine was very much hurt in a relationship, and he told me how much he regretted not loving without reservation when he had the chance.

I took his words to heart and decided I would love with all I have, with no fears and no shields held firmly in place to protect myself. If so many people had regrets about missed opportunities brought on by hardened hearts, I thought, this would be the time for me to love like I had never been hurt.

The problem with loving like you have never been hurt is this: eventually, you are going to be hurt. Whether it is an accident or an oversight, a miscommunication or an angry lover's quarrel, or even a simple revelation -- you cannot expect not to be hurt. So if you are going to take up the challenge to love like you have never been hurt, you should probably be prepared to be hurt like ... well, like you have never been hurt.

Remember the first time you burned yourself? There was the gasp of disbelief, the sting in your skin that flashed red before fading to a smooth, colorless blister. And just like that miserable bump in the rug, you'd forget the burn ... until something touched it in just the right place and made it hurt again.

So yes. Love like you have never been hurt. Live like you will die tomorrow.

Just keep plenty of salve on hand, because there must be pain if there is going to be joy. The hard part is learning to live with it.

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