Friday, November 03, 2006

The Time Is Now

The following is a story I posted on my MySpace blog but, being aware that LGG and one or two other people do not visit that blog, I am posting it here, as well...

LOVE, ACTUALLY is on my television set right now. It is one of my happy movies. Whenever I am in a mood that doesn't fit with the Pollyanna optimism that is (inherently) me, I put in this film or UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN or any one of four or five other films and it lifts my spirits. It is almost foolproof. Tonight I have put it in because I have been out of sorts for about a week--emotionally, mentally and physically. It's just one of those weeks. I think it may be Pouty Male Syndrome. I know I get this way and people who know me know I get this way. Fact of life. So what.

As I type, I can hear the film and I can (in my mind) see the picture on the screen. When there is something I really MUST see, I will run in and actually look at the screen.

I just heard the opening monologue by Hugh Grant and it prompted me to sit down and begin writing. He said (which I have heard a hundred times before) "when the planes hit the twin towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate and revenge--they were all messages of love."

There it is again. Love. I spend a lot of time writing about love and the way it drives us. But today I am not thinking about love, per say, as much as I am thinking about how badly we abuse that most sacred and treasured quality of life. I mean, if (as I have noted so many times in the past) love is the driving force of the lives of men (please, argue with me, prove me wrong--it's all about love, sex, power and money, right?), why do we treat love with so cavalier an attitude? Why do we take love for granted?

"When the planes hit the twin towers......"

Imagine being one of the survivors of passengers on those planes--for that matter, any plane that crashes, any car, any train, any bus or subway... A vehicle crashes and people are killed. A bomb explodes and people are killed. A gun is fired, a knife is slashed, a drunk driver skids... A person trips and falls down the stairs... And someone is dead. And someone else is grief stricken.

I remember when Sergei Grinkov died: his wife, Ekatarina Gordeeva, was doing an interview on television and at the end of the interview, in her beautiful Slavic accent, when asked what message she would like to send out to the fans, she said if you have a loved one, say I love you, one more time. Call them back as they are leaving the house and say I love you, once more. She wished that she had done that with Sergei, wished that she had one more chance to say I love you.

I know that the people in our lives know we love them. But people need to be told. People need to hear the words. It can be a given that your parent(s) love you. You may assume that your spouse loves you. You could remember a time when your best friend said he or she loved you. Do you just take that knowledge and tuck it away to remember, one day, after their plane has crashed or they have slipped on the ice or the doctor has walked in the room with that look on his face? Or do you wish to hear the words again? I love you. Do you say the words to hear the words? Or do you say them because you mean them and you want to let that person know that you have this extraordinary feeling for them? And it is an extraordinary feeling. We who feel love are so lucky to be given the chance to feel it. There are those who do not. There are those who can not express it, even if they feel it. Love is complicated and tricky but it shouldn't be. It should be simple. You feel love, you express love. Isn't that simple? Should it not be that simple?

My self-appointed adopted son once said he wanted to ask me a favour. Of course, I said; whatever you like, I said; how can I help you, I said. He told me "When I say 'I love you', you always say 'I love you back'. It would make me feel better if you said 'I love you' from time to time, on your own. It would make me feel better if you replied with a plain 'I love you' instead 'I love you back'...that feels reciprocal." I understood what he was saying and I changed my habit. Years ago I had switched "I love you, too" to "I love you back" for much the same reasons; but I suppose a plain 'I love you' should do the trick. It should Git R Done. It should be that simple. That was a lesson that he taught me and I will never forget it, until the day I die.

And what about the people left to mourn the ones who die? How many people live, every day, remembering that they didn't get to say goodbye to someone, didn't get to say that final I love you? Pat, for instance, got to be with his mother before she succumbed to cancer and he got to see his father one last time before he, too was recalled. I was not there when my Grandmother died but a few weeks earlier we said our last goodbyes. That kind of closure is, actually, very necessary in this life. My best friend's mother was taken away from him when he was a quite young man and he has talked to me, often, about the pain he lives with because of the loss. I cannot begin to count the number of times I have heard people I know say that they wish they could have one more chance to say I love you to a loved one. I suppose that is why there are so many psychics and mediums in business out there. We all just want that one last chance to say I love you. One more thank you. One last goodbye.

So if we are all aware of this phenomenon, if we all know that there is always a chance that a loved one might have an aneurysm, an embolism, a run in with a renegade New York City tourbus or a psychopath in a bell tower, then WHY do we ignore, neglect and, generally, mistreat the people that we love, the people who tell us that they love us? Our parents age and they die and, yet, we don't spend time with them, we don't phone them, we don't email them, we don't sit down over coffee in the morning and say "hey. mom. are you happy? did you get to do everything you wanted to do in this life?" and "pop, did you get to have your dreams come true or did my siblings and i cause you to have to put them aside?" Why don't we talk? Why don't we want to know each other, know ABOUT each other? Why are friendships casually placed on hold and left to die, only to haunt us in two or three years, leading us into feeble and unsuccesful (not to mention painful) attempts at rekindling something that didn't die but that we killed? First we kill the relationship and then we kill the person. In his book THE FILM OF MEMORY, Maurice Druon writes that 'people die because we let them'. It's true; I believe it. There is such a thing as dying of a broken heart. It is caused by a loss of morale, a loss of will of life, that a person feels when they look up at three o'clock, one day, and realize that no one has called, no one has come for a visit, no one has noticed that they are still here, crying silently "hey...remember me?...i'm still here..." We ignore our loved ones, focusing inward on ourselves, and when their roots have withered and died and the nutrients can no longer reach the heart the beats the blood into their lives, their souls, they shrivel and they cease to be. The death notice in the paper reads natural causes but, in the aftermath of their passing, in the cool grey of the dawn, when we think of the people who we loved and who we lost, we know that we killed them.

THAT is a moment for which there is no closure, no absolution.

It's November. Thanksgiving will be here soon. What are you thankful for? After that it will be December, the season of Peace. There are miracles in this time. Chanukah celebrates miracles. Christmas celebrates a miracle. But we don't get miracles anymore. Those great, old biblical miracles don't happen for us, anymore. Daily, we observe pain and hatred and crimes against nature and humanity. The miracle is that we are given a chance, each time that we open our eyes; we are given another day to fall in love and to tell someone, perhaps someone who will be hearing it for the first time and perhaps someone who will be hearing it for the hundredth time--perhaps someone who will be hearing it for the last time: I love you.

It's a powerful drug--I love you. Shirley Valentine says they should bottle it. I think it is already bottled. We all bottle it within us and we hold it close to our hearts, protecting it and fearing that someone might get in there and steal it and break it and hurt it. We keep it bottled inside and it HAS to get out. That's why our hearts get broken. They are too full of love that we won't let out and the only way that love can get out of us and out into the world is for our hearts to break themselves. That's why I cherish every heartbreak, every wound, every scar. Whether my heart was broken by the movie TITANIC or by the closing of Mike's Bar and Grill, whether it has been broken because I had to tell someone I loved that I disapproved of them or because someone I loved told me they didn't love me, whether it is breaking because I don't believe in heroes anymore or because my friend doesn't believe in me anymore, at least my heart has broken and, maybe, tomorrow, love for my fellow man will come pouring out, once more. Maybe then I will be able to call someone back as they are leaving and say 'I love you', once more, knowing that if they die, suddenly, on their last day on this planet they will have had those magical words wash over them. They are magical words, too; they can restore the sick, the wounded, the dying and give them strength, if even for a moment.

As the great Richard Curtis wrote and the lovely Mr Grant said: Love, actually, is all around...
Now, if we could just respect it.. just a little more.

Just a little more.

please note that I did not do the photo of my in-laws, Buddy & Sue Dwyer but I did do the photo of my parents. These two couples have been examples of true love I have been priveledged to witness in my life.


Anonymous annalisa said...

my dearest ste, i have to say that this entry actually moved me to tears (not sexy when you are sitting in your office). it was beautifully written and i think sums up completely how i try to live my life. i love it so much that i am going to direct some of the people in my life who may not know or read your blog to see it. i adore you ste, i hope there isn't a day that goes by that you do not know how much i do.


8:10 AM  
Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Ste, Thank you for sharing this!!

Both you, and now Kirstie, serve as my personal inspiration....over the past couple years, my weight has gone up more than I'd like it to be. I used to be told how "hot" I was, and now I've been reduced to "What happened??"

It's people like you who give me inspiration. And it doesn't hurt that both you and Kirstie look pretty fabulous (even if I've only seen you in pictures; I did see Kirstie live when I was in the studio audience of her very first "Cheers" episode, but that's another story)!

All the best, and thank you!


1:20 PM  

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