Let’s have a heart-to-heart talk today. I was wondering…
Have you ever had a big love?
You know the kind. Where you feel like you’ve been broadsided by the Mack truck of love. A real big truck – probably fire-engine red - going real fast and headed straight for you. Let’s face it. There’s no way to avoid getting smacked into the big fluffy-clouded perfectly bright blue sky of love when the big love Mack truck runs you down. You don’t even care. You’re in love. Real love. You’re wearing wings and singing all the time. It’s a pretty nice place to be.
I’m not talking about infatuation here. That’s not a Mack truck, that’s just someone knocking you over in a high speed tricycle with a loud horn. You may not be able to avoid the Mack truck of love but you can definitely step out of the way of the trike - and well you should. That way lies certain heartache. Forget about the trike and foolish infatuations. Big love is the real thing. I’m talking about one of those loves where you think about your life together down to the grey-haired years and you know it’s a real possibility. Not the way you do when you are in junior high school and write someone’s name in puffy letters with flowers all around it in all your notebooks. This is something else. Something bigger and much more intriguing.
With the big love, everything is clicked in just right, the sexual chemistry, the emotional attraction, and the hundreds of little aspects of each of you that works together in the right way so that you find yourself smiling as you walk around doing the same boring stuff you normally do and delighting in the fact that even that stuff has a brand new charm. You can’t buy the delightful effects of the big love. It’s not rushed or hurried as in the manner of a simple infatuation. It’s more of a path along which you both travel than a big bang and eventual disappointment (a la the major infatuation). It might be rocky at times but it’s worth it because you feel buoyed up in the best of big love moments. On the other hand, you’re left lying in the road just where the Mack truck of love smacked you if it doesn’t work out so well. It’s not anything like those damn e-Harmony commercials. But it could be.
In the midst of the big love, you don’t think you can live without them. Probably, you really can’t unless you have to do so. Then you will - of course, because after all you must. And it will kill you - or almost - if that is the way it goes. Anytime you are even on the outs your heart is broken. If it ends, you find it hard to move on because your deepest desire is that things will work out in the end and you hate to totally abandon the big love even when the break up is a done deal. Some day, after it is over and done for years, you may hear that your big love got engaged and you will feel a little sad even if you have gotten on with your life a long time ago. That’s the power of the big love. Over the years, you may still think about them once in awhile. How are they? What would happen if you ran into them? Would you have a nice talk? Would you tell them off? Would you be able to forgive them, or they you, for the heartache that you suffered in the name of the big love gone wrong? Would you still love them a little?
It’s an interesting question. I think that we never forget our big love(s) and I think that most likely we probably would be very ready to forgive them and/or ourselves for a good love lost if the right words were proffered on both side in the end. And I think we should do just that. It has to better for us on many different levels.
This has been something I have especially pondered as my own college-age daughter is going through a big love breakup. I don't know what will happen with regard to her big love in the end but I truly feel her pain and wish there was a way I could diminish it. But of course there is not. The power and pain of the big love breakup is inescapable - there is no way to avoid it. Perhaps she will find herself back on board with this big love one day. Maybe there is another big love waiting in her future that is the final big love destination for her. The big love breakup stinks but there it is. She just has to push through it and see what's at the other end. I hope it is something wonderful. I feel like crying for her when I think about the hurt around the lost big love because I know that although she tries to overcome it, it still is there for her and will be for awhile. This is one of the hardest parts of being a parent - witnessing your child in pain and not really being able to do too much about it.
In the midst of all this, I heard from a big love of mine from my college days - just out of the blue. What's old is new again - or so they say. I was angry at him for years after we broke up – angry and hopeful at that same time that somehow, maybe we would work it out in the end. I told him off in make believe dialogues in my head a thousand times in those days. All the pain, all the heartache, all the tears, all the wishes torn asunder, and the disrespect to my heart – which was a very gentle heart. Frankly, dear readers, I was pissed. God, how did I survive all of that? How do any of us survive it?
Well, we are often stronger than we realize and if we work at it, we eventually rise out of the ashes of the big love gone wrong to proceed on with our lives – hopefully wiser than before. Maybe headed on a new path or armed with some school-of-hard-knocks learning that will impact our next big love experience, if it comes along, in a positive way. Indeed out of the pain of the lost big love can come many treasures that we have hidden within ourselves that are only in these moments can be discovered. We just may not recognize all of this at the time it is happening or maybe for a long time afterwards.
Ironically, when I finally heard from this big love again 30 years after the fact – it was all okay. I realized that I wasn’t really mad at him anymore. I mean, he was my college sweetheart and I really did love him madly so it was nice to hear from him and I was glad he had gone to the trouble of checked in with me. Actually it was kind of a surprise but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't nice to know that someone from so long ago still thought of me with some residual big love feelings. I have to admit that maybe there was just a little residual anger still in place on my side. I think I still needed an apology from him and didn’t even realize it myself. He gave me one without my asking which I truly appreciated. It took thirty years but I got closure. Maybe he did too.
Funny, I couldn’t remember the angry speeches I had prepared for him in my head so many years before. He hadn’t done right by me back in the day but that was a long time ago and in the end I was glad to hear from him because I realized with real clarity that having a big love – at least once in your life (or more) – is not a small thing. Even if it doesn’t go right. Because, at least you had it. It is my contention that even though it might turn out all wrong and break your heart, everyone should have at least one big love (or more) in their past or their present or their future. It is one of life's great adventures.
I’m glad that I was smacked by the big Mack truck of love back then. And I’m still glad now. It might not always have been fun but floating around in the fluffy clouds of love when it was all good with that relationship was something I wouldn’t have missed for the world.
And now, on with my ordinary suburban life. Thanks for the heart-to-heart.