Why Can’t We Choose Love?
“Ahh these times are so uncertain
There’s a yearning undefined
And people filled with rage
We all need a little tenderness
How can love survive
In such a graceless age”
--- Don Henley: Heart of the Matter
Being a man who has consciously chosen not to believe in “believing”, I still absolutely believe in love.
It is no more wispy, untouchable, unseeable, or indefinable than God, but I choose to believe in love over God. Free country.
If we could simply choose love by putting an X in a box in the newspaper next to our daily dose of destiny, our horoscope, most of us would. I’ve slid down the slippery slope of love, and it can be fabulous. Life altering. It has the same power as death. It can make you laugh and cry in the same five minutes. It can be stridently argued that love does indeed make the world go ‘round.
Love is an emotion that very accurately represents the true marrow of the human condition: we are all different. We all see love at least slightly differently.
The many definitions of love are both revealing and fascinating. I like the ‘hit me with your best shot’ bluntness of saying I love You with roses and a soft kiss, slightly open mouthed, where just the tips of tongues touch, dance, flutter, and the mouths linger almost motionless, tasting…and the mind goes, “Well, HELLO there.”
And the subtle duet of love between a man and a woman, who spend a Saturday together doing chores and errands, all the while playing out a quiet seduction with each other. A quick glance by him in the 6 inch gap in the bathroom door reveals her topless, looking at herself, moments before she slips her bra on. The quiet way she slides her hand over his jeans, front AND back, as they pass each other in the hallway. The wink, the “this is gonna be fun” look early in the day, soon to be replaced with a “you better get over here and fuck me look”.
I will never run out of fun and sexy ways to describe what love means to me. Because each morning, I choose to look at love like a formless lump of clay waiting for me to mold it. I like the power and control that comes with that. And when I’ve been with a woman in the throes of ‘knee weakening’ love? I have no trouble sharing that control and power with her. Makes for some incredible sex.
But it’s the ghost-like quality of love that intrigues and, yes, frustrates me. We can’t summon love on a whim. It doesn’t come when called like a good dog. And it often leaves as mysteriously as it arrives.
It’s like the haunted house guest from hell. Except it isn’t. People kill for love. Sure, those that do kill have a twisted, bent, corrupted idea of love, but to them, it still is ‘love’.
The boulevard of broken dreams (‘and a last chance power drive’…Bruce Springsteen) is littered with broken hearts. I’ve known very few that were permanently broken. But like losing one’s virginity, it’s never the same after the first time. Once broken, a heart welcomes in the liquid heroin known as “caution”. It provides a protective blanket. But the warmth of that blanket also can keep love out. I’ve known many women who simply won’t trust again. It is sad, but their choice.
Love may not be a choice we can make. But opening ourselves up to its possibility is all on us, baby.
I googled “Where does love go when it’s gone?” and discovered dozens of songs written with that exact title.
I know I am not plowing fresh soil here. Love has been written about forever. It is the ungraspable nature of love that fascinates me. I am a linear thinker and fluid concepts like romanticism and love are usually foreign to such minds. But I have embraced the idea of love wholeheartedly my entire life. To a fault.
Here I am, in 2012, on the cusp of Valentines Day, a wonderful day that is so pragmatic, it even overcomes the incredibly crass commercialism that is now associated with it. I mean, come on, a day devoted to celebrating the idea of love? It’s the single most sensible day of the year, in my book, and my favorite day. Why the hell isn’t EVERY day Valentine’s Day?
Which makes me sit here and scratch my head, as I discover the perfect way to end this. With a question.
If I am feeling better about myself than I have in years; relatively healthy, content, productive at the keyboard, getting and giving laughs at every turn, shamelessly flirting my way through Facebook, looking much better than I have a right to look as 52 bangs on my window; then why have I for the first time in my entire adult life, closed the door to the possibility of letting love in my life?
But it’s not locked.
“Gonna break these chains around me
Gonna learn to fly again
May be hard May be hard, but I’ll do it
When I’m back on my feet again
When I’m back on my feet again
I’ll walk proud down this street again
And they’ll all look at me again
And they’ll see that I’m strong”
--- Michael Bolton
© Copyright 2016 Bill Rayburn. All rights reserved.