“How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, ‘This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?’ Instead they say, ‘No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.’ A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge.”—Carl Sagan
Modern neuroscience denotes several chemical reactions for the procedural development of love. Hollywood movies and thousands of pop songs offer a perspective entirely different.
They faced each other and their noses nearly touched. Her face was shrouded by shadow but he saw the white of her eyes every time heavy lids were raised. She looked at him. He looked back. She started to drift off. He closed his eyes, wishing so bad his life would always feel this simple, this safe. His eyes would open every few minutes, resting on the contours of the lit portion of her face. He reached a hand toward her and brushed her hair behind her ear. She relinquished a sleepy smile, a flash of acknowledgment, eyes still closed. He brushed the knuckle of his index finger against her cheek, feeling increased heaviness on my eyelids. He feigned sleep until he couldn’t any longer.
(What’s more important than the two sleepy souls intoxicated by each other?)
When I look at my parents, every fear of attachment and reservation of commitment falls harmlessly out of my mind, benign and detoxified. I watch my father looking at my mother and know that look is a fresh as the day he met her, wiser now. I see one grow quiet at the other’s prolonged absence. My whole life I’ve watched shared burdens, the weight of individual failures evenly distributed between the two. I’ve watched their shared pride over their love’s most tangible byproducts. I hear quiet apologies after fights. I see youth in flashes of teeth and in laughter. One look at my parents prioritizes my life in one cathartic instant. I know then and there what I want my life to be about love. I’ve since decided life is too short for apathy and cynicism. Emerson said: “We are always getting ready to live, but never living.” I want to live. I want to inhale crisp air through flared nostrils and know that the air I breathe isn’t wasted. I want to be able to look back on it all and smile on a life well lived, a life laden with the courageous pursuit of compassion, love and happiness. I want to cast aside notions that love is unachievable and intangible. If you call love treacherous, I will accept it. If you point to my youthful naivete, I will nod at it. If you cite some divorce statistic, I won’t argue with it, but know this: I would rather have a warm heart break a thousand times for love than to wait for the cold fangs of apathy to set in. Keep your disillusionment, recede to your shadow of fear and self-loathing. My path leads to the light, to the proverbial Pure Land. I will surely stumble before I get there.
We had a conversation once about our goals and dreams. We talked about jobs, careers, marriages, and families. We talked about the weight of expectation. We talked about a crumbling world torn apart by greed, famine, and war. You said in a world like this one, love is the only thing worth hoping for. We agreed that anything in life worth doing is done because of love. We realized there was an inalterable foundation; a shared core. I thought then: I love this girl. I think that now. As time bears down and I draw closer and closer to the shadow of an outstretched hand, I think it not too forward to tell you I want to be with you for as long as our happiness sustains; that I sometimes think ahead farther than I should. I don’t care too much. You make me happy and for once in my life I want to let go of the internalized fears and trepidations that have bound me again and again. It’s still a struggle. I’m trying. I want to give my all to everything I do, to everyone I’m with. Right now, you’re one of those people. I don’t know where either of our paths are going. If they end up parting from one another, I would take pride and solace in the knowledge that I felt with ever fiber of my being and that there was always potential for an alteration in course. I hope I make you happy and I hope I’m helping you grow like you’re helping me. You’re a beautiful person and you’ve got a good heart. I love you and I think you’re becoming my best friend.
I’m worn by preconceived notions and blueprints. I’m sick of dictations and cynicism and the all-too-human fear to feel. This is my stepping out into the good grace of whatever is out there for me. This is my casting out of fear; my obliteration of anxiety. This is my admittance that true happiness is shared. This is my purification. This is my liberation.
Tough. Can I just give authors? Hemingway, Kerouac, Burroughs, Faulkner, Bukowski, Vonnegut, Fitzgerald, Cormac McCarthy, Tennessee Williams (for plays), Steinbeck, oh and read The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles!