Several years ago, when I first ventured out into the world, truly on my own, I was so frightened and unsure of where the world would take me and if I would, in fact even be able to survive on my own, for I was determined to never again be needy, I came across a quote from Louisa May Alcott ” I am no longer afraid of storms, for I am learning to sail my own ship”. It had a profound and inspiring effect on me and gave me a sense of strength, I wasn’t sure I had before, and now I find it interesting and somewhat compelling how I often use boating/sailing/oceanic metaphors in my writing. I guess I’ve been (and perhaps still am) adrift in a stormy sea; looking for a safe harbor.
I was asked recently if I was the girl that tried to save (or fix, I don’t remember which – ah old age) the bad boys and, I said I didn’t think so. It occurred to me that it’s not the bad boys I seek to heal; it’s the lost boys I am drawn to care for. Perhaps I am a poor man’s Wendy, the open window in the dark night. I do find in myself the need to comfort, console and perhaps restore faith. I find great joy in that and maybe even a bit of a calling. It doesn’t always serve me well, but I think it is a part of me. I cannot force it on anyone, but I can offer it, and offer it freely without need of anything in return.
I think we live in a society, where there is the prevailing attitude of “tit for tat”, and people are somewhat distrustful of kindness and empathy. I get it. I see it every day in my work and daily life. The odd thing is, I even suffer from it myself. I have a hard time accepting kind and complimentary words without a sense of “what do they want from me?”
I have to remind myself that kindness is a by-product of the highest kind of love, one that is of a spiritual nature, one that supersedes personal gain for the betterment of others and of the universe in general.
We silly Americans define love in such limited ways. The Greeks had several definitions and different names for the different kinds of love and because they were so clearly defined the idea of love was probably less frightening. We use only one word for so many feelings and we’ve formulated slang words to better define the types of love we feel, but they are not so clear as their Greek counterparts. If the Greeks used “Eros” you knew it was referring to sexual love and desire, appreciation for beauty; “agape” – the love of god – a spiritual love and a self-sacrificing love: “Philia” friendship, brotherly love, the kind of love we feel for our families.
Today we use one word and it sometimes elicits fears of unwanted and unwarranted commitments, of guarantees and demands on one’s heart and soul (and even bank accounts). So we avoid it, and in many ways rightly so, for the use of it can end something wonderful before the exploration can even begin. There are never any guarantees in relationships or in life in general. We are promised nothing more than the moment we currently have, so it is imperative that we make the most of those moments we are blessed with. Life is such a rare and precious gift and so easily lost, we must take care and appreciate each moment.
I don’t buy-in wholesale to the idea of destiny, that we have no free-will or self-determination, but I do believe with all my heart that we are destined into the lives of the people who we are meant to touch and who are meant to touch us. Whether that means we are touched for a brief moment, a day, a week, or in fact, a lifetime there is no way to know and I try to not have those types of expectations, for those types of expectations do nothing but disappoint. But I believe that people enter my life for a reason. Whether I meet a need in their life or they meet one in mine, the truth is we have both been blessed by the coming together.