No one escapes a broken heart.
The older I get, the harder it is for me to understand how careless and willy nilly we are about the feelings of others.
Oh, sure - I've probably done my own share of damage in my lifetime. I'm certain there are old men out there, scarred by some callous, indifferent rejection I tossed when I was in my dirty-thirties.
Now - in my early dotage, I see how sad and silly it is to throw away love; how cold and cruel it is to say "no" when "yes" hurts no one - risks nothing.
When I was a younger woman hanging out with young men, we trusted the common ground upon which we built our assumptions.
I remember when my husband and I went to the theatre to see the film, "Easy Rider." When Peter Fonda is shot, killed at the end, we were struck dumb; shocked. In tears, we left the theatre convicted that we would never surrender our common values - our belief in each other, in the good we knew to be true, in the importance of freedom.
Young couples today care about the same things - but not enough.
Not enough to make it through the hard, difficult times that always rise up between men and women.
Men and women. Different in the foods we love to eat. Different in the way we sleep, think speak. Different from each other in the way our mothers held us, taught us. Different in the expectations the world has of each of us.
How them, can we expect to live together? To make all this work?
One way only. Love. And what is love? We sense it when we meet it. We know it when we find it. We treasure it as it washes over us.
And we close our eyes - hold our noses - and jump into the fire.
It's the only way.
If we are too cautious - if we seek too much - if we expect understanding, good will, constant care, sacrifice - we lose everything. Love vanishes under scrutiny.
Love thrives when expectations are low and respect is high.
I remember when I was in love. I loved watching my guy enjoy his life, because of what I added to it. I loved the life we built together - the warmth of our home, the peaceful, contentedness of partnership.
Those times did not come easily to us. They are not easy for anyone.
When a woman and man love each other, they have to overlook all those things that are divisive, and reach for the common ground between them.
I wish young people knew how difficult that is - - how difficult it truly is.
Perhaps then, they would be kinder to each other.
Perhaps they would hold each other closer, treasure the miracle of connection. Perhaps they would not be quick to break a loving heart.