I may have been imparted with a soul from another era. The deepest parts of me do not regularly find life or adventure or romance in the things of this age, but desperately long to cling to something . . . more, something grand and extraordinary, something that un-blinds my eyes and awakens truth, inspires dreams and plants heart-roots. Something magical.
Around a dining room table just a couple of months ago a friend shared stories of her grandfather’s pursuit of her grandmother. In his youthful exuberance, he drove until he ran out of gas following her family as they went on vacation. In order to return home after puttering out on the side of the highway he had to sell his spare tire. As my friend shared I wondered at what it would be to feel “wanted without hesitation” and wondered more at the decisions we have made that have steadily walked us away from the flamboyant gestures, commitment and dedication of pursuit.
This train of thought diverges through society and the ambivalence and apathy commonly seen today; through relationships as I think about the many great men and women that long for the freedom to pursue and be pursued; through culture as we continue to rush and progress exponentially at the cost of art and music and literature; and through expression as we forsake our own contributions of explaining, expanding and defining our culture for auto-fed one-liners and insta-success.
But, if I am honest, my concern and the sadness rests on the matters of the heart. I long to see the strengthening of relationships and of communities that only comes with flamboyant gestures that break paradigms and lies, commitment that intensifies beauty and dedication that creates security.
Does it exist? Not in storybooks or accounts of years gone by, but does it exist today that boldness, courage, gumption and adventure would win out over fear, insecurity, doubt and caution? If you are starring potential in the face and have the choice to choose between a grand (potentially heartbreaking) story-line or a safe (potentially lacking) 140 character existence, which do you chose?
I met a couple this year that has been married for 50 years. Shortly after they met he had to go abroad and for an entire year they wrote letters to each other nearly every day. They grew to know each other and fall in love through pen and paper. They told their dreams and their secrets and sent them slowly through the post not knowing what the outcome would be or what story would unfold.
It is a shameful comparison to read through my recent text messages.
I would think I was strange if I were the only one wondering about the lives we are cultivating, but the more conversations I have the more I wonder if it is not the society we are creating that is strange, and more microscopically, the definition of loving relationships that has become skewed. The complaint is common: That the men do not show the testosterone, risk and adventure that sweeps a woman off her feet and the women do not let them if they try.
Help me, here, dear reader: How do we deepen our levels of commitment to ourselves and to each other? How do we cure this strangeness and learn to fall head over heels in love, despite the cost, to “man-up” and act chivalrous, to believe in the power of strong relationships, to let go and take life as an offering of beauty? To replace fear with the knowledge that we are made to thrive in this era and must not sit idly while all our stories are reduced to limited characters in small text boxes? How do we learn to love again?