I received a note from one of my best friends tonight. In it she wrote “Funny thing, hearts. I think they should make the kind that can’t be broken.” I received this from her hours ago, but ever since have sat here ruminating over it. I want to respond and am now going to attempt to do so. And so I settle down with my over-sized John Wayne coffee mug to write. Only tonight it contains hot “cozy chamomile” tea for my sore throat and cold. I think The Duke would forgive me this one transgression. Normally I’d have put a little bourbon in with it, only considering the cold/sinus medication I’m taking it’s probably not a good idea. Emerson said that “the only way to have a friend is to be one.” So I will now attempt to be exactly that and pretend that I am sitting across from my friend over coffee (or chamomile tea in my case).
I once read that ignorance with love is better than wisdom without it. And let’s face it. The reason for almost 100% of all broken hearts is love. Or love gone bad…love gone wrong…love leaving…loves labour lost…love makes the world go ‘round…love, love me do… (Sorry. I got stuck for a minute.)
But love hurts, too. It is a risk that all of us take whenever we get up and face each new day. It’s what keeps us going. I have written before about my beliefs regarding love and the heart. Only snippets of it, as that is actually a large part of what my book as currently outlined will be about. So I will spare you a long speech.
Think about all the things that you and I wouldn’t experience if not for the promise, and the risk, of love. To keep this from getting lengthy I’m going to use bullet points.
- True, Rick would never have drowned his sorrows in a bottle of gin and had Sam play “As Time Goes By.” But he would never have made the sacrifice he did at the end and said to Ilsa “We’ll always have Paris.”
- Clarence’s alternate reality for George would never have carried the same weight in “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
- There would be no Heathcliff and Catherine. No Wuthering Heights.
- There certainly have never been any of the mischief going on in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
- There would be no Ode to Joy. Or Moonlight Sonata.
- Harry would not have defeated Voldemort.
- Tom Doniphon wouldn’t have shot Liberty Valance, or let people believe that Ransom had pulled the trigger.
- Pip would never have met his Great Expectations and gone back for Estella. And we’d never have had the following lines written:
- That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.
I could go on of course, but you see where I’m headed. We’ve discussed several of these anecdotes and more during our friendship.
No my dear, our lives would be a void…a soma-induced trance of blasé nothingless as described by Huxley’s Brave New World. We get up each day and we risk. We may stumble and we may fall. People will let us down. We will let ourselves down. But in the end we apply a band-aid, hospice awhile, and we get up the next day. I’ve heard it said that when bones are broken and healed the area where the break occurred is actually stronger than it was prior to the injury. I believe the same may be said of our heart’s scars. Yes it hurts and yes it stinks. But we are stronger people. I can only speak for myself, but it’s the promise of friendship that keeps me going each new day. The promise of making new friends…or re-establishing ties with older, or even former, friends.
The greatest heart to ever walk this earth was pierced by a sword after having endured the torture of scourging, being spit upon by those who only the week before had laid palms at his feet and welcomed him as a king, and finally nailed to a cross. And yet, He loves.
My tea has run out and the hour is late. But before I get up and walk away from our table to pay the tab I want to leave you with a little story. I found it tonight while reading through one of my favorite books and within this anecdote is much wisdom. At the end of my days my reply will be the same as Kingsley’s.
Mrs. Robert Browning, herself an accomplished and widely published poet, once said to the novelist Charles Kingsley, “What is the secret of your life? Tell me, that I may make mine beautiful also.” Thinking for a moment, the beloved old author replied, “I had a friend.”