As I was going through some older things to find inspiration for today’s post, I found a short thought on love that I wrote several years ago. I originally published this micro-essay on my — wait for it — Xanga site, so that gives you an idea about how long I’ve been blathering to the internet with my various ramblings (2005, for you Dustin historians).
Because it’s already 2am and it’s shaping up to be another 4-hours-of-sleep sort of night, I’m just gonna post it here, unedited, and we can all take a few moments to agree, disagree, contemplate or judge 21-year-old Dustin. I don’t know how you guys will feel after you read it, but I sort of want to take ’05 Dustin out for a beer and chat about life for a while (maybe with some Billy Joel music in the background). Believe it or not, Young Dustin and I are in pretty similar life situations, and we actually seem share a lot of the same thoughts/observations. Whether that is good or bad, I leave to your own interpretation of my life, my loves, and my pursuit of happiness. Enjoy, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow with some new gem to share. And maybe take a second and think what sort of conversation shared over a cup of coffee with the You of six or seven years ago would be like…and which of you would pick up the check.
“is it that hard to understand? love—true love—isn’t in the heated passion and fleeting physicality of youth—it’s in the goodnight kiss that an aged husband gives his wife on their 40th wedding anniversary. i look around me and all i see are people who think that they’ve got everything all figured out, that just because they saw Titanic in eighth grade, they’re experts. the problem is that people don’t realize that love isn’t stumbled upon like a lucky penny, love is learned—and therefore, love is the very act of learning. learning how your husband/wife thinks, and why they think that way. learning to love the person you wake up next to each morning—not just the one you went to bed with last night. learning how silence can speak volumes. learning how to say “i love you” every day and mean it. learning how a hug can heal. learning to let yourself be loved. there is no special formula, there isn’t a magic word or a fairy-tale first glance. love is just taking the time to do the little things for someone else that we would normally only do for ourselves. it’s a smile in the morning that says “i could spend forever in your eyes.” it’s a glance from across the room at the company Christmas party where you know that the other person is counting down the minutes until you two can leave together. it’s making the other person feel that they are loved, instead of just assuming that they know they are. love is not complicated and difficult, it is simply making the effort to love someone.
love is like oxygen. for a human being to live, he must receive oxygen almost constantly, yet if a perfect knowledge of how oxygen works and sustains the human body was required before we were allowed to breathe, none of us would last five minutes outside of the womb. for a newborn baby to breathe, all he has to do is try. the babe might not get it right the first several times, and under certain circumstances, that child might never breathe as well as other children, but that’s not important. what’s important is that he tried to breathe, and in trying, he succeeded, regardless of how grand or abysmal of a breath it was. and so must we love. we, as human beings, must love despite our lack of knowledge about it. Indeed, we must love because of our lack of knowledge about it. that is the key to the journey that we all take. that is the message that must not be overlooked. there is no way to know the answers to all the mysteries of love, not in the blink of an eye that is the human life span, but that that doesn’t matter. all that matters is that we love anyway. just like the infant who succeeds in breathing simply by continuing to try, so are we victorious in the world of love as long as we try.
i don’t say these things because i think that i am an expert on love, or because i think i am any smarter or more experienced with love than any of you. i don’t claim to have all the answers (or any for that matter), and i don’t think that i know anything that you don’t also know. rather, i am merely pointing out the innate knowledge that resides inside each and every one of us, if we would stop thinking about ourselves long enough to look for it.
how do i know that true love exisits as anything but a cliché or a fairy tale? how do i know that there is a true love out there for me, and you too? because i can feel it. i can feel that true love inside of me. it is the same love that God breathed into me in the womb. it is the part of me that knows i can love someone who i haven’t even met yet with all of my heart. it is the part of me that knows they will love me more than i have ever deserved in return. i know that true love exists because i know i exist. it’s as simple as that.”
—Dustin Heveron, January 2005