Anne Smith :: Blog for March 2016

March 8, 2016

Hello, Everybody-

I'm writing to you from a Starbucks in Boca Raton- it's a rainy Monday, and they're playing a Dexter Gordon (I think) rendition of "Prisoner of Love". It's breathy, mournful, sentimental, and intruding on my thoughts. I may as well make this my starting point. Don't ask me how I can simultaneously type and recall lyrics.

"Alone from night to night you'll find me
Too weak to break the chains that bind me
I need no shackles to remind me: I'm just a prisoner of love."

I find myself reflecting on this song, and the fact that so many songs about love involve metaphors for suffering, being a slave to someone, or at the very least, feeling torn up and confused- and that naturally, the depth of one's suffering only serves to qualify how great that love is, or was. And if that love is or was really, really, really great, and you have "lost", you are somehow entitled to carry that anger and hurt like a badge of honor for as long as you choose, comparing every subsequent person who crosses your path to the love you lost, and coming up short.

For an excellent neurological explanation of what in hell is going on in your brain when your heart hurts:

There, now! That explains it! Reading "How Heartbreak Affects Your Health" from a detached point of view is interesting and informative. Living it of course, is not as entertaining. I can tell you that heartbreak in me causes insomnia and a very real and painful pressure in my chest. Still, that makes me want to understand love even more; and the more I chase the meaning, the more it evades me. When was the last time you risked saying "I love you" to someone?

How do you use the word "love"? Do you reserve it only for a very few people? Do you sprinkle it over your conversations like rainbow sprinkles on a cupcake? How can someone so easily say, "I love that "…(flavor, car, TV show, song, dress, etc.), and be so loathe to tell someone "I love you"? Is love something that you divide into categories, as C.S.Lewis attempted to do in his controversial work, "The Four Loves" ? Lewis maintained that love could be: Need-Love (mother-child); Affectionate (platonic friendships, family) Erotic (sexual/romantic toward a specific person) and Universal-Agape (an unconditional and highly evolved state which embodies the example of Christ). How can we reconcile so many viewpoints? Are we supposed to develop and cultivate love through each of those four categories as we mature? When was the last time you risked saying "I love you" to someone?
Does his/her answer or silence in return take away from your truth? Do you resist saying "I love you" only because you fear rejection? Or can you risk expressing your truth as it is, with no expectations? Do any of you remember when falling in love was disguised by gradations of "like" ? "Do you like him, or like, LIKE him?" "I mean, I like him and all that, but it's not Like-Like"…how about just telling someone "I love you" for what he/she brings to your life to make it richer? When a member of my choir spontaneously told me, "I love you!", after a Sunday service, the sincerity and beauty of that moment transported me out of the ordinary. It made me think that Love really is extraordinary and must be expressed in every form, in every way possible.

Anyhow, with Spring just around the corner, love springs eternal. All of us, whether we will admit it or not, will feel the stirring, the quickening, of life as it awakens from a long winter. And with that will come a renewed optimism and desire to connect in deeper ways. My friends, use the gentle momentum of Spring to carry your deepest words out of your hearts and into the ears of those who need to hear them.

I am in my second week of working as an Activities and Recreation Coordinator for an assisted care complex in Boca Raton. I am conscious of the diversity of impressive backgrounds of the residents; retired engineers, attorneys, artists, writers, musicians, doctors…the list goes on. Dementia is a common affliction here. I am reminded everyday of how fragile and vulnerable human beings really are, yet as I get to know the people with whom I work and play, I am inspired to make every day matter, because it will be forgotten in the blur of large print calendars, medications, afternoon naps and bus trips to Publix.

Love will never be forgotten. I wish for all of us many opportunities to express our Love in all its forms, and to experience Love, returned.

Until Next Time xoxoxo

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