Love and Anecdote: Michael

My friend Michael and I caught up today.  and Michael loves Howard.  Oh, and Michael is a girl; not that it would matter anyway.  This discussion prompted this, along with my own situations…I remember seeing a glistening peak in the wooded mountains and walked along a beautiful trail to get there.  I took note of the surroundings, the sounds and verdant canopy and embracing dampness, the softness of pine needles on the path and the game of redlight I played with scurrying animals.  I fell in love with this hike and walked on to my summit with a renewed sense to celebrate.  As I climbed the last few scores of steps, another peak, this one higher, started to appear through the pines.  I thought about deeply about this feeling that welling up…I was in love on the trail behind me with the whole journey to this one rejoiceful summit….but now I find that this same path, I thought would finish on this summit, continues to yet another.  Should I not rejoice? Should I claim victory and sit for a while before turning back? Or had this trail of happiness been a disillusion?

Love is like this.  It’s not a graduation, it’s not a goal or a place to arrive after a deserved journey.  It’s not a respite from the efforts and activity it took to achieve it.  It is perpetually one beautiful peak after another…your choice is to see the onward path as a joyous journey or just more effort and sweat draining toil you didn’t anticipate.  There is always peak before you, and each should be celebrated…loves objective is to always find it’s next motivation to grow. You deserve love, it deserves you.  You are in love because everything you feel is best described that way. Love IS what it DOES…when it does no more, DO something different.

Michael described the ups and downs and toils…and then made literal descriptions of what she loves about Howard.  She see’s him 3 to 4 times a week and they spend much time at each others home.  Her kids are older and off (she’s 44), his boys are 8 and 9 and he’s 42.  They ponder marriage, but live in the now and that is cool.   They argue stupidly over stupid stuff and it’s the stupid stuff that expands…into stupidly talked about serious stuff.  Funny how that happens.   I offered her this analogy:

“You can derail a train with a ton of gold stacked on the tracks…or you can derail it with a thin penny on a single rail…it’s not about the size of the issue, it’s that you’d set it in your path and misjudge it’s significance.  Fact is, the same train that could plow unscathed right through a ton of gold, could come off the tracks with one misplaced coin…”  

You can get mad and hate your “boyfriend” or “husband” or “father,”  but don’t confuse him with the “man” you first loved.  There may be a difference, and it may be only one by title, not by nature.

Mike, so in love with Howard, described how they moved through their issues and idiosyncrasies and phobias.   And I thought about this….I thought about “love takes work” and how many things seemingly insurmountable, well, just aren’t.  After a moment of quietly thinking about this as she went on, I said, “it’s not these symptoms I worry about…it’s the cause.”  A mentally ill person and a temporarily angered “sane” person will behave the same way…  It’s a different love that navigates through each.  I have simply chosen sanity for the color my true love wears.  But there may be deep causes for “issues” that I am simply not able to help with…and many an ounce of prevention was dragged down into the abyss forever because it was attached to a pound of curable ailment.  And besides, the cure is always inside of the inflicted.

We often mistake the cure to someone or something as a changing of one’s identity in order to accommodate the ailment, to force the good and bad to “meet half way.”  Love is a tricky fickle savior – there is no half-way process, even if there might only be a half-way result.  If you fail, fail with gusto. I can better love a cure into someone, if I were with another for whom I built a twin-shared and impenetrable reserve of love from which to partly draw my kindness.  I’m better for others when I’m with people as “good as me” (not better than me).

Hm…I’d rather brilliantly and passionately run aground against a rocky coast, then sail forever in an endless ocean of unfulfilled possibilities.

Giving.  She is a giver.  I’m a giver and I decided I am just going to role with that.  One does not change someone who only knows now to take, by no longer giving to them.   It’s against our nature to go with another’s nature.  We are who we are…when allowed the option, it’s best to follow nature than habit; passion than custom. There is a modicum of balance of course, but in general, I can only truly understand the value of receiving something when I learn its value through giving it to someone else.

He has kids and Michael embraces them.   A child will grow out of nothing, unless there is something to grow into.  If you try to beat the devil out of child, you’ll only succeed in snuffing out their flame, they need that.  But you can pour in the love; even the devil isn’t big enough to leave out room for a little love.  Love and strife are forever destined to share the same place in mens’ souls.

I have gone to Best Buy to buy cool gadget gifts for another.  Buying them something I’d not thought of or didn’t feel was financially prudent to buy for myself even if I wanted it.  But as I picked out the gift and imagined it’s utility for them, how it would make them happy, how cool it would be for me to this from someone else…and I realized that had I not thought to get this for someone else, I’d never had considered what it would mean to me.  So I bought two.

(interesting post note:  Michael offered this unprompted – she talks A LOT…she and Howard felt the love before they spoke it.  One day at an airport, he was on the phone with her.  He was running down a litany of things he was doing and the logistics of the travel and at the end of this pedestrian information this happened, “…and I’ll then catch a taxi to the hotel – oh and yeh, I love you.”  That was the first time he said it…  She said, they say it now so “matter of factly,”  and that is what sent me on my discourse that there is nothing matter of fact about love IF we consider it as something we create with one person over and over again.  It’s the whole sunset thing…  I never so beautiful a sunset that I didn’t show up the same time the next day to see it even more beautifully.

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