I recently finished The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. The story revolves around an elderly man who was once in love, and then he lost her. But he never got over her. The thought of someone loving another person for their entire life, from childhood until death, is amazing. Is it probable? Possible?
This got me thinking. Maybe we're asking a lot, to be unbelievably happy. Maybe gratitude has nothing to do with joy. Maybe being grateful means recognizing what you have for what it is, appreciating small victories. Admiring the struggle it takes simply to be human. Maybe we're thankful for the familiar things we know. And maybe we're thankful for the things we'll hopefully never know. At the end of the day, the fact that we have the courage to still be standing is reason enough to celebrate.
I have to keep this in perspective sometimes. I have been known to throw a hissy fit when something didn’t go my way. But what I need to do is pump the brakes, look at what I have, and be thankful for it. Even if it didn’t come in the package that I envisioned.
This man had the courage to live. He had the courage to wake up every morning, not necessarily thankful that he was alive, but ready to face another day. But not the courage to go after what his heart desired..
One time I decided to go after what I wanted in a big way. I had a guy friend who I was kind of sweet on, so I decided to make a grand, romantic gesture and tell said guy friend that I liked him and wanted to date him. I should have thought better about the timing, I shouldn’t have been in Finn MacCool’s when I said it (although I’ll usually say that anytime is a good time to be in Finn’s), and I should have been prepared for whatever the answer may be. He just looked at me and said “I’m sorry. I don’t feel that way about you, and I’m dating someone new.”
Suddenly, I felt like I was wearing patchouli in a room full of Chanel No. 5.
How did I miss the boat this drastically?
So I did what every respectable girl would do. Ticked off and embarrassed, I grabbed my bag and sulked out (and left the tab for him to pick up). Then I got to the car and I turned my music up real loud and took off for home. And I promptly decided that he was crazy, I’m a catch, and he will be so sorry. Of course, he isn’t crazy and he wasn’t sorry. He was honest. But the part about me being a catch? That part is true. (fyi.)
But I digress. The old man from the book knew what he wanted, but he didn’t have the balls to go after it. He wanted his childhood sweetheart. He wanted a relationship with his son. But he stayed on the outskirts of their lives, hiding behind bushes, hoping to catch glimpses of them walking by. Poor guy.
I may have lost some dignity that night in Finn MacCool’s, but at least I went after what I wanted.
Now I know what it must be like for guys, who traditionally have to make the first move. A word of advice, boys. Do it. Just tell her how you feel. She may say no, you may feel so embarrassed that you barely make it to the door before the tears brim up in your eyelids… or she may say “I thought you’d never ask.”