Wednesday, September 10
Here’s how my day started. I had to take an allergy nighttime pill last night, which knocked me out. I mean to say, when I woke up this morning, my sheets were still tucked in – it was like a corpse slept in that bed! I was very groggy all morning long. I went over to the Coffee Cottage across the street, and while I was waiting for my cinnamon twist coffee, I found a used book that looked really interesting to me. It’s called Now and Not Yet: Making Sense of Single Life in the Twenty-First Century by Jennifer Marshall, a woman who speaks and writes on cultural issues as director of domestic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation, the Washington, DC based think tank.
The back cover read:
“8 out of 10 young women say they’re hoping for marriage, but 3 out of 10 women are still single at 30. The difference between life here and life hoped for can be disillusioning – and cultural changes have made single life in the 21st century more confusing than ever. Now and Not Yet offers guidance for navigating this new territory with purpose and contentment. Make sense of life in the gap between expectations and reality. Singleness may be an unexpected in-between, but it’s much more than a holding pattern. Now and Not Yet is about making the most of the time between now and the future for which so many women hope.”
I kind of laughed at that last statement, but, whatever. Something appealed to me. Maybe it was the “it’s much more than a holding pattern”.
Plus, it had a nice cover, see:
A young, independent woman with a background of Paris and New York. I was convinced it would be a relevant, engaging read.
So, I bought the book. I thought, this could be some positive reinforcement, which I needed. And so I walked back to my office, sat at my desk, flipped through the first pages and read: I found myself asking Why? Where are we going, God? What makes us think we can demand concierge treatment from God, as though He needs to consult us about whether we’d prefer the direct or scenic route?
(Insert scratch on the record). Huh? God and He, what? I flipped the book over and in very tiny, fine print it reads CHRISTIAN LIVING / WOMEN.
No good sex stories and reasons to sleep with as many men as possible before tying yourself down?!?!?!? I’m KIDDING. But…I just bought a “Christian Living” book?? I put it down, annoyed. Only, there’s a pale halo of hope. If you muddle through some of the God speak, there were some good messages and lessons. So, I’ve decided not to return the book. I’m still going to read it, but take it with a grain of salt. And I am Catholic, after all. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if I learned a good spiritual lesson or two.
Getting Good at
- find it
- risk it
- let it go
- make it grow
- Live It Every Day
That last bullet point had my attention. If I were to focus on the art of living love every day, I think I would be exponentially happier. It’s simple, yet so challenging to do. It’s truly a state of mind. It’s all about perspective. You can choose how you are going to feel each day. You can let things fester and get to you, or, you can choose love. Love your cat, love your dog. I don’t know. Love your tea. I really love my tea. But, you can really turn things around if you really try. Really. John Lennon got it – all we need is love; love is all we need.
So, I’m gonna get good at love. Thank you, Oprah, for the reminder of the necessity of that action. You gotta put love into action to be good at it. And that starts with loving and respecting yourself. How to find it? Well, again, start within. Then ask yourself what kind of love are you looking for. I suspect if you can answer that, you’ll soon find it. How to risk it? I suspect you can risk love that serves you by choosing love that serves another. That might be a good risk. How to let it go? Well, think of that lovely Richard Bach quote: If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t they never were. How to make it grow? Just like anything else: find fertile, rich, healthy soil; plant the seed; nourish it, shower it, give it plenty of sunshine, but let it weather every storm so that it can grow stronger; don’t over-care for it, give it a little challenge so that a little struggle will make the roots dig deeper and the branches stretch higher.
I am no love guru. And I know that I have a lot of work to do to live it every day. It ain’t gonna be easy. But maybe that’s what my journey has been all about this year. In seeking love in all of its manifestations, my catchy, hopeful tagline, perhaps it’s more accurate to say I am learning to live love every day. This means the responsibility and action for having love in my life is not dependent upon someone else. That takes most a whole lifetime to figure out.