How To Break Your Own Heart

(or) When the Browning’s aren’t enough How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of being and ideal grace. E. B. Browning Love does not hurt. That may sound counter to popular lyrics and poetry, but love heals and lifts you from the darkness of loneliness. Loneliness is the absence of love. Infatuation may be a precursor to love, but is never a true replacement. Until I met my, now deceased wife, Diane, I had several infatuations. Most notably, a fixation on a third grade teacher and, when I was a senior, a crush on a freshman girl. Though both names are indelibly etched on my heart, prevailing circumstances thwarted any possibilities that either might lead to love. Diane has been dead for over twelve years. Even though my heart became a monument to our love, I have truly loved since. And, hope to do so again. Maybe to someone new. Maybe even by recapturing one of my lost loves. I am a hopeless romantic, easily infatuated. In the past decade of dating and relationships, I learned that, unlike love, infatuation is just a feeling, a hormonal response. Love is a discipline. A discipline requiring unceasing consideration, maturity, loyalty, and sacrifice. Healthy long-term infatuations, including most successful marriages, are built on passion, affection, and mutual respect. Passion being the first to fade, disaffection often follows, and “to death do us part” endures mainly through mutual respect. Many couples find great solace in these types companionship....

Aloneness In Relationship

Loneliness and aloneness, are two states of the same energy – like poison and nectar. When there is no outlet for loneliness it becomes poison – self-destructive. However, when in a loving relationship, aloneness is the nectar that sweetens passion, caring, and respect; allowing love to flourish. Love’s beginnings always arise out of aloneness, never from loneliness. With love, one is never lonely, even when one is alone. In a loving relationship, the earth and the sky are no longer separate. Like the tic and toc of time, the rhythms of love are strengthened by the counterpoints of the relationship. Nurtured by both togetherness and aloneness. True lovers relish solitude as much as companionship. Being alone is as beautiful as being together. In the beginning of a new relationship, it is often difficult to distinguish between being alone and being lonely. Especially if one has been without a mate for an extended time. One day it seems we don’t spend enough time together to allay that lonely feeling. The next day it seems, there not sufficient time alone to refresh and rejuvenate for passion’s next quest. Eventually, however, lovers establish a syncopated rhythm of connectedness. They learn to sense when their partner needs to be alone. Knowing it doesn’t mean rejection. Realizing that aloneness is essential to maintaining and intensifying connectedness and nourishing the flowering relationship. When your love wants to be alone, do not torture her with your presence. If you leave her alone, she will return with overflowing love and a renewed spirit. With love, one is never lonely, even when one is alone. In a loving...

When I Hear Sinatra Sing

I always cry. Sometimes I weep. Regrets, I have a few. But mostly, I’ve done it my way. Which, however, always included her way too. My first true love was at sixteen. We had two dates, one kiss. The first date was to see a romantic Saturday afternoon matinee. I was too shy to even hold her hand. The kiss came in the basement of the church. Our final date was the senior prom. Since I was three years older, her parents made it our last. Our love for one another remains today, as mostly unspoken. When Sinatra sings The Way You Look Tonight, my heart still miscues and my eyes reconnect to the glorious vision of her in blue taffeta, with my pink corsage on her wrist. The first time I saw Diane she was wearing a white blouse, white shorts, and walking towards my car carrying a tennis racquet. Diminutive and pretty, like a delicate flower. We married ninety days later. Almost immediately Come Fly With Me became our Forty-year anthem. Early on, I was unsure why someone as wonderful as her would want to be with me. But I eventually learned that prudent, responsible persons, like Diane, often choose goofy people like me because of their own closet goofiness. Us goofys want to be with people like Diane because, on some level, we know we need light steering. For a time, after she died. I was rudderless. Just sitting in my easy chair, no one in the place except me, my memories, and my tears. Through online dating, I met several lovely and delightful ladies. But...

My First Love

excerpted from Don’t Save Me A Place In Heaven On my first day in the fifth grade the principal summonsed me to her office. Walking down the hall, I wondered what I had done last year that would cause her to want to reprimand me now. She, however, offered me a school patrol position. I was honored and accepted. The first few days on patrol were hell. The sixth grade patrolmen bulled me and gave me a rough time. But things settled in. At the first assembly of the year, Mrs. Hogle introduced the new third grade teacher, Miss Haley. She immediately became my first love. I was smitten. Miss Haley was a raven-haired beauty. Fresh out of college, with the most beautiful face and smile I’d ever seen in person. She looked like a movie star. I was not alone in my feelings toward Miss Haley. Most of the other fifth and sixth grade boys were enamored with her as well. Kenny Murphy, our patrol captain said we should do something to welcome Miss Haley to the school. I suggested collecting one flower from the bouquets that the girls regularly brought to school to give to Miss Haley. The next Monday, after we completed the flower collection, Kenny asked for a volunteer to carry them to Miss Haley’s room. He said the rest of the patrolmen would march behind the flower carrier into her classroom. No one volunteered, so he assigned the delivery to me. Kenny knocked on her door. Miss Haley invited us in. I walked to her desk and heard the door slam shut behind me. I...

Carbon Dating

The perks and perils of old peoples’ online search for companionship   Initiation We made contact on Match.com and agreed to meet at a local fern bar. She arrived in cowboy boots wearing a yellowed, white leather dress with copious fringe. I had posed on a black leather sofa, sipping a glass of Chardonnay. Rising to meet her, I asked what she’d like to drink? When her White Zinfandel arrived, we began exchanging the same personal information on the dating site. She again told of her three divorces from evil men, who took great advantage of her. I politely listened. Finally addressing me, she said, “So your wife died. When was that?” “Over two years ago?” I replied. Then, she asked, “How long do you think it will take you to get over your dead wife?” “I don’t plan to get over my dead wife!” I shot back. “Death, you know, isn’t the same thing as divorce! Death only happens once!” After moments of awkward silence, realizing the idiocy of her remark, she said, “I think I stepped in it. I’ll pay for my drink and leave.” “Madam,” I said. “Your drink is paid for.” She stood. In her embarrassed and hurried attempt to leave, she mistakenly walked on to the patio. Missing the exit door by twenty feet. With no egress from the patio, she had to reenter near where I sat. “The exit is down there.” I politely suggested. She left. And, so began my introduction to carbon dating. Today It has been ten years since my virgin entry to the mature dating process. I’ve met a...

Moving Violations

Years ago someone came through the front door of our home while my wife and I were on our back deck eating supper. The person stole cash from my wife’s purse and my grandfather’s vintage Bulova watch from our bedroom. We weren’t aware of the theft until the next morning, when getting ready for work. Diane and I were fairly confident the thief was a troubled teenager, we had befriended. The girl was temporarily staying with a neighbor. The incident was unnerving because it violated the (albeit) irrational trust we placed in the troubled teenager. It’s been over fifteen years since the incident. I, however, have continued with the open door front policy, except when bedding down for the night. To violate:  1) Break a law or a trust; 2) Disregard promise; 3) Assault a person sexually; 4) Damage one’s property; 5) Disrespect qualities considered sacred; 6) Improperly interrupt; or 7) Fail to show respect. Though not as heinous as sexually assaulting an individual or as innocuous as improperly interrupting someone, that act of thievery violated the confidence and trust we had placed in the young lady. When you open your door, or your heart, to let someone in, you always take the risk the person will violate the trust you’ve placed in him or her. Though you open yourself to vulnerabilities and disappointments,  you also open your door, or your heart, to myriad opportunities and delights. To date, the violations within my open door policy have been few and the rewards...