Pretty little girl’s
Got a little bit of hope
Caught in the corner of her eye
Life has been tough, so
She’s grown hard
And she brushes it aside

She’s got a bruise on her heart
And a tear in her eye
And a wall ten feet high
But don’t get too close
‘Cause she’ll burn all the bridges
And wave from the other side

We both know that love is hard
Very hard to find
But I hope you know that
I will never let you go
It is through faith
That this I know
There is just one
And it may be you
taken from the song Maybe You, by Shmuel Mikel

Shmuel didn’t write this for me, but by default he wrote it about the kind of girl I can be, the kind of girl I often am. I was talking to my friend Sandi the other night about the kind of women we are, how tough we can be to handle for those who love us. She said, as many others have, that the guy I will likely fall for will be one I least expect to win me over, that he will only come when I’m not looking for him. I’ll just happen upon him like one happens upon a loose 5 dollar bill on the sidewalk when your wallet has just turned up missing and you need bus fare home. That is, of course, with the assumption that you’re not far from home.

I watched the movie 28 Days last week, a movie about a woman who reluctantly goes into rehab after plowing her sister’s wedding limo into someone’s front porch. When she was ready to be released, one of the counselors advised, as far as dating was concerned for his patients, that they should take it very slow. He suggested that they buy a plant, and if within a year the plant is still alive, buy a pet. If the pet and the plant are still alive within two years, then dating could be suggested. As you can imagine, his patients did not take this very well.

We want to think that when we’ve run through a bad patch with love that we can rehabilitate ourselves, that we can decide when we’re ready. For me, I’ve been wrong many times when I thought I was capable again, and while the counselor’s advice may be harsh, it helps to minimize the drama of healing. Instead of looking for love, for a relationship, I’m trying to love my friends, to be consistent with them and let them into my heart and life. I’m trying to be careful about who I call my friends. I believe that only through be able to love the world back first can we hope to find a single person who will love us back. Our lovers were never meant to bear the burden of our escapism from the world we think cannot love us back, cannot accept us. You can’t expect a healthy relationship to blossom by running into that person’s arms every time the world hands you lemon. That person should only be a more intensified version of the love you have for your friends, your family, your life, being human, not a placebo for the lack thereof.

So, I’m trying to take that counselor’s advice, in a way, in my own way. Part of that is admitting that I need a plant or a pet to talk to when I used to think I only needed to fall in love and all would be well. It’s the only way for me, that hope can be allowed to grow in me.

Hermann Hesse

As every flower fades and as all youth
Departs, so life at every stage,
So every virtue, so our grasp of truth,
Blooms in its day and may not last forever.

Since life may summon us at every age
Be ready, heart, for parting, new endeavor,
Be ready bravely and without remorse
To find new light that old ties cannot give.

In all beginnings dwells a magic force
For guarding us and helping us to live.
Serenely let us move to distant places
And let no sentiments of home detain us.

The Cosmic Spirit seeks not to restrain us
But lifts us stage by stage to wider spaces.
If we accept a home of our own making,
Familiar habit makes for indolence.

We must prepare for parting and leave-taking
Or else remain the slaves of permanence.

Even the hour of our death may send
Us speeding on to fresh and newer spaces,
And life may summon us to newer races.

So be it, heart: bid farewell without end.

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