You Bring Me Joy

The years have not caused me to forget. Still there are remnants of feelings strong beyond explanation. You cracked me wide-open and I was never the same again.

Was it because you loved me so unwaveringly deep and passionately?

Was it because you were so exotic and intelligent that you were able to enter my heart so easily?

Was it because I filled your need to be loved?

Or you filled mine?

It was all these things and a hundred more. There was a time we found ‘home’ in each other’s arms.

Once in a great while a feeling of loneliness for you, and you only, still touches down to the quick of my heart. Always I smile with hope that you are well and happy. You married in your 30’s and our contact appropriately stopped not too longer after.

Maybe my memory has elevated what we shared to a fantasy beyond fact. Although our love covered a lot of years it was not long when measured in the actual length of time we spent together. But in weight of what was shared we took a trip around the world.

Times change.
People move on.
Some grow together.
Some grow apart.

Some like we knew each other at the wrong time. I was still a boy in a man’s body pretending he knew what he wanted and needed. I pushed you away because I was afraid to be cared about as much as you loved me.

Hidden away safely, even for the time being from myself, is the only physical memory I have of you: the gift you gave me of a small music box shaped like a heart with a beautiful photo of  you inside. It will go to my safe deposit box once I find it again.

I will always be grateful that once I knew you and for the space you occupy in my memories. The pain has long evaporated and today only a sweet memory remains. There has been no greater love in my life. I’m grateful that whenever I hear Anita Baker singing you always come to mind…

If I can’t see your face,
I will remember that smile
’Cause you’re the finest thing
I’ve seen in all my life.
You bring me joy.
From an Anita Baker’s “You Bring Me Joy” by David Lasley

The Need and Desire for Love

My past is filled with falling in love over and over; at least I thought it was love. A few times it actually was! There is a condition called “Love Addiction” that’s a behavior in which people become addicted to the feeling of being in love. It’s common although most Love Addicts do not realize they are addicted to love.

My particular brand of Love Addiction is that of a “Love Avoidant” which used to cause me to have issues staying in one relationship. At the start of a new romantic connection you’d never know it because Love Avoidants like I used to be come on strong at the start. My desire for love was extraordinarily strong, but after some time into a relationship a part of me is overtaken and becomes afraid of being left or being alone.

My compulsion was to be a philanderer who rarely stayed committed to just one person for very long. I left before the one I loved could leave or else “hooked up” just in case.  In childhood I learned how deeply the ones I love could hurt me and my avoidant tendency rooted there caused me to have difficulty depending on one person.

With professional help and a lot of diligence, my pattern of Love Addiction/Avoidant has been largely overcome. By understanding what is going on and replacing walls with boundaries, I have learned how to experience the joys of being truly intimate. At least I believe I have, although so far I have not fully proven it long-term.

Love addiction is not just my issue and is wide-spread and growing. In an article* on http://www.mailonline.com Martha De Lacey last week wrote:

You may believe in love at first sight. Or you might be someone for whom love takes time and patience. But the average time for telling your partner you love them is after 14 dates, according to a new survey.

Participants in the new study revealed the average number of dates per week with a new partner was two, meaning that couples tend to first say ‘I love you’ seven weeks into a new relationship. First kisses tend to take place two dates or one week into the dating process, and the first time a couple has sex is, on average, after four dates or two weeks. (Yes, you read correctly… four dates! A highly probable sign of Love Addiction since real intimacy takes far longer.)

The research also showed that most partners are introduced to friends for the first time after six dates or three weeks, and that people are most likely to introduce their new boy or girlfriend to their parents after 12 dates or six weeks. And if things go well, dating couples move in with each other, on average, after 30 weeks or 60 dates.

The study was carried out by dating website seekingarrangement.com who polled their 100,000 British members to find the average time for a whole series of ‘firsts’ in a new relationship.

The need and desire for love is stronger than ever in a world where we’re exposed to its opposite continually through every day. The news is filled with it. We walk in fear on the streets and treat strangers with great distrust initially. We have multiple locks on our doors and many have security systems. We carry pepper spray and some even conceal weapons to protect them self. It’s a crazy world.

No wonder I want love so badly. Taken together a rough childhood and an overwhelming need to be loved combined to create a strong compulsion. Thankfully, my Love Addiction/Avoidance is something I understand and control today. It’s an old friend/enemy that I know well through growth and counseling. While I still feel the feelings, they are not as strong anymore. I know better and have become appropriately cautious about falling and being in love. I’m only interested in the real thing; love that comes slowly over time to prove itself to be lasting and real. I am so very grateful for the knowledge and learned ability that can make that possible.

You better have insurance on your heart
if you plan on being in LOVE.
Unknown

* Full article here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2188819/Dating-milestones-revealed-new-survey.html#ixzz24BxiAB2Y

Done Together

Once in a while something meaningful touches me and I am rendered emotionally near speechless. One such case is this ABC News story from last fall:

A devoted Iowa couple married for 72 years died holding hands in the hospital last week, exactly one hour apart.

The passing reflected the nature of their marriage, where, “As a rule, everything was done together,” said the couple’s daughter Donna Sheets, 71.

Gordon Yeager, 94, and his wife Norma, 90, left their small town of State Center, Iowa, on Wednesday to go into town, but never made it. A car accident sent the couple to the emergency room and intensive care unit with broken bones and other injuries. But, even in the hospital, their concerns were each other.

“She was saying her chest hurt and what’s wrong with Dad? Even laying there like that, she was worried about Dad,” said the couple’s son, Dennis Yeager, 52. “And his back was hurting and he was asking about Mom.”

When it became clear that their conditions were not improving, the couple was moved into a room together in beds side-by-side where they could hold hands.

“They joined hands; his right hand, her left hand,” Sheets said.

Gordon Yeager died at 3:38 p.m. He was no longer breathing, but the family was surprised by what his monitor showed.

“Someone in there said, ‘Why, then, when we look at the monitor is the heart still beating?'” Sheets recalled. “The nurse said Dad was picking up Mom’s heartbeat through Mom’s hand.”

“And we thought, ‘Oh my gosh, Mom’s heart is beating through him,'” Dennis Yeager said.

Norma Yeager died one hour later.

It warms my heart to know such a lasting love really existed. Thank you Gordon and Norma for showing ‘ever after’ can be real.

What greater thing is there
for two human souls,
than to feel that they are joined for life
to strengthen each other
in all labor,
to rest on each other
in all sorrow,
to minister to each other
in all pain,
and to be with each other
in silent, unspeakable memories.
George Eliot

More Like Myself

Love… love… love. There are few people on Earth who do not yearn for a remarkable love like those found in the movies. While the “with all my heart, happily ever after variety” of romance often portrayed in film usually ranges somewhere between partial fact to dream-like fantasy, many still desire what they see. At least to a degree, I am among them and below are three movie quotes that have special meaning to me (with a 4th bonus line at the bottom)

“Look, I guarantee there’ll be tough times. I guarantee that at some time, one or both of us is gonna want to get out of this thing. But I also guarantee that if I don’t ask you to be mine, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life, because I know, in my heart, you’re the only one for me.” (from “Runaway Bride”)

“Love is passion, obsession, someone you can’t live without. If you don’t start with that, what are you going to end up with? Fall head over heels. I say find someone you can love like crazy and who’ll love you the same way back. And how do you find him? Forget your head and listen to your heart. To make the journey and not fall deeply in love – well, you haven’t lived a life at all.” (from “Meet Joe Black”)

“It was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together … and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home. .. only to no home I’d ever known … I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like … magic.” (From “Sleepless in Seattle”)

A many-times-broken heart within still loves and desires to be loved, maybe more so than ever. In appropriate measure the lesson to cherish the gift of being loved was taught to me the most difficult way. There is much gratefulness for the love I once had in my arms and let slip way; not once but several times. Through those losses I came to know great teachers such as grief, heartache and misery who brought some of the wisdom I possess today.  

“I am someone else when I’m with you, someone more like myself”.
(from “Original Sin” starring Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jollie)