February 11, 2012

LOVE Keeps Us Alive

Most of the time, there’s an attempt to write about things here that will inspire you. People, places, things, or situations you can identify with. Stories you can perhaps get absorbed in, ones that reach into your heart and soul. When I first started this blog in April, 2010, I had no agenda, no concept, no idea really, of where I was going with it. I just simply started writing. I’ve discovered that by NOT having a plan or a goal, is when the messages are “heard.” Such is life; spontaneous moments, spur of the moment ideas, instinctive thoughts, and things that just “happen” are the ones that usually resonate for people. I attribute many, if not most of these events, as sort of divine intervention. Nothing just “happens” in this world by mistake, I believe. Everything and everyone has a purpose, though we may not even know it at the time. It’s only afterwards, and only for those of us “aware” enough, is when we truly understand their meaning.

I must admit, however, much of the first few months were spent focusing on stories that many would perceive, even allege as self-serving, and deservedly so. However, during the past two years, that pattern has gradually shifted away to matters involving others, many involving “pay it forward” concepts, “keeping kindness alive”, and so forth. But recently, something occurred that takes me back, something that takes me back to about a year ago and the year before that. It is my hope then, that you keep an open heart and mind while I proceed with this latest installment of “Ramblings.” And although this topic may be personal in nature, an honest attempt will be made so you might be able to identify with it in your own life, so it might inspire you that, in spite of whatever troubles come your way in life, there’s always something you can hold on to, that will keep you alive. That something is called LOVE. But not in the sense you may think. I’m speaking of what’s in your HEART. The kind of love that says, “I’ll be with you every step of the way. Don’t give up!”
Have you ever found yourself so isolated, so alone, it seems as if no one knows you exist? And I’m not talking about the kind of “place” in your head where life events have gotten you down so much, in spite of all the friends and family you may have right there with you, that you feel this way, though that circumstance could apply here as well. I’m speaking of it in almost the literal sense. A place where you live alone and though you have neighbors and people who know your name, there’s really NO ONE you can call a “friend.” It’s just you and whatever means you can find to exist; transportation, work, food, television, phone, and a computer. That’s where yours truly was exactly two and a half years ago.

But before I start there, I want to take you back, back many years ago to when I was a child and begin there. I’ve loved a handful of women in my life, but it was my first love that will always take center stage in my heart. She was everything. She was there every morning to greet me when I woke, serving me breakfast. She was there in the evening when I returned home from school or when I came in from a hard day toiling in the hot sun on our family’s farm in Western Kansas. She bandaged my cuts, mended my bruises, dried my tears, bathed me, fed me, and tucked me in at night. She was always “there.” She was pure unadulterated LOVE. She was my mother. At 13 though, looking down at her near lifeless 39 year old body lying in a road ditch after it was forcefully and brutally ejected from a truck after a near head-on collision with another vehicle, I knew right then I was about to lose her. My first experience with life hitting ME head-on, an END I didn’t know how profound an impact it would make on my life until many years later, an impact I won’t go into much detail here in this latest chapter. For now, suffice it to say she’s always been with me, ever since she passed away on July 11th, 1972, though I never fully understood just how fully “present” she’s been until the past 3 ½ years. She’s with me right NOW, at this very moment, helping me to type these words coming from my heart and hers to yours. Sounds creepy I know, but I believe it to be true!
My next love was the woman whom I would eventually marry and who bore our children. I’d known her since childhood and she had one of those teenage crushes on me. I fell for her again many years later after I returned to Kansas, having been absent for nearly a decade. That marriage, unfortunately, lasted only 8 years, destroyed by actions on both sides. Here again, that’s another story. We loved each other and we still do, but not in an intimate way anymore. She’s a good woman and she’s done the best she could in life. More importantly, we created love together, manifested by God’s grace in our daughter and son. 

So now I want to fast forward to two and a half years ago and refer you back to the paragraph above where I was speaking of ISOLATION. That’s where I found love for only the second time in my adult life. Or so I thought. She was a former high school classmate living in San Diego County. A Facebook “friend” I’d discovered in early 2009. By the middle of that year we were nearly non-stop on our computers, chatting away on yahoo messenger, me in Kansas, she in California. Sharing our “life stories”, our interests, our triumphs, our failures, the past, the future, everything. We discovered we had a lot in common. We fell in love 1400 miles apart. And then we met again in person for the first time in over 30 years in Arizona during August 2009. I’d been invited to a family gathering there earlier that year. I asked if she wanted to meet me there. She agreed. Four nights and three days of bliss. I returned to Kansas and she to California. I was head over heels and I thought she was, too. Long story short, I ended up being just a passing ship in the night, someone she thought she would travel with for a short while, enjoying the view, and then jumping off when things got choppy. I was devastated. It was shortly before we met when I had thoughts of returning to California to start a new life and search for a new career. Certainly she was in my plans, too. And even though it appeared over, it didn’t change my plans. After all, I’d had the notion of going back to California before we’d gotten to know each other again. And I did.

There’s a song by The Eagles called “Love Will Keep Us Alive”, a beautiful love song beautifully sung by one of the original Eagle members, Timothy B. Schmit. For weeks and months after we broke up, I played the song over and over again, letting the words sink deeply into my soul;

 “I was standing all alone against the world outside…you were searching for a place to hide. Lost and lonely, now you’ve given me the will to survive…when we’re hungry, LOVE will keep us ALIVE. Don’t you worry, sometimes you just got to let it ride. The world is changing, right before your eyes. Now I’ve found you, there’s no more emptiness inside…when we’re hungry, LOVE will keep us ALIVE. I would die for you, climb the highest mountain, baby there’s nothing I wouldn’t do. Now I’ve found you, there’s no more emptiness inside. When we’re hungry LOVE will keep us ALIVE.”

When I arrived back in San Diego in March 2010, I brought that song and it’s lyrics with me. It was embedded deeply into my heart and soul, where it remains forever, and one I’ll never forget. Shortly after arriving, things went from bad to worse with the woman I met in Arizona the previous summer. I discovered she had disclosed some intimate and tragic details of my life, things I had shared with her in confidence, things very few people know outside of my immediate family, and a few close friends I left behind in Kansas. Things got very ugly. Anger got the best of me. So ugly, we never had ANY contact with one another for over a year and a half, until we just “happened” to see one another earlier this month while I was taking a stroll along Moonlight Beach. 

Life’s funny. The things that are the simplest are the most profound and true. They’re timeless. Words and phrases like “time heals all wounds.” And time has done just that with her and I, just like it did with coming to grips with the death of my mother. What ENDED was really just a NEW beginning. We ended up taking a long walk together, talking with one another non-stop, laughing and sharing events of our lives and reminiscing on our moments together. She’s moved on, found love again, and is getting married. I’m happy for her. I realize now she came into my life for a reason, and it was HUGE. It was her who gave me encouragement, advice, love, and support at at a time when I had no one else. As I said, I was living alone in complete isolation. She was the one that kept telling me; “God, I could read what you write forever! You need to get your ass out of Kansas, your star is much too bright there!”

And finally, out of the blue, came a woman that simply blew me away, the most special of all, except of course for my mother. For the sake of privacy, I won’t go into much detail. Suffice it to say I thought she was “the one.” We were a couple for 18 months. She was everything I could dream of in a woman and meant the world to me. She was my LIFE. Unfortunately, I again brought downfall to this relationship, though not with anger like the previous one, but rather with not following through with my words. For not practicing what I preach. A few of my actions, or the lack thereof, ran counter to some of the most treasured core beliefs I hold in the highest regard; beliefs like honor, respect, and integrity. Devastated once again. Another “ending.” Life goes on. I could, and probably should, write much much more about her, but I choose not to for the time being. The wounds are still fresh for both of us and we both need healing. The mind needs cleared of any negative emotions and the heart needs time to put itself back together, so I’ll leave it at that.

What am I left with? The same thing I had a little over two years ago, LOVE in my HEART. It’s still there and always will be. It’s all I have left to keep me ALIVE and I’ll hold on to it until my last breath. And why am I divulging such intimate and private details of my life? Simple. To demonstrate that regardless of what your circumstances are, no matter how many times you’ve been devastated by events in your life, be it personally or professionally, no matter how many times your heart’s been broken, as long as you have LOVE in your heart, the kind of love that says “I will never give up, I’ve got to keep pushing forward, because I’m worthy, because I have value, meaning, and purpose in this world”, then you’ll know. Love will keep you ALIVE.

Finally, I’ve sensed it for some time, which is further confirmed by events in my life over the course of the past few weeks and months. I’ve “heard” it in your messages. I’ve read your words. I feel your pain. I know what you’re going through. It’s the legacy I believe that I’m left with from my mother, a love deeper and vaster then the seas, a love for mankind, a love that wants you to know “I’m here for you, I’m here to help. And I’m not going anywhere. So don’t give up. Because I will never leave your side.”

I Love you “Mom.”

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