A good story has a beginning, a middle and an end. It is filled with interesting characters that face and overcome challenges. A good story will make you grin, but a great story will make you smile. We’re not talking about the kind of smile you give your neighbor when you pass by on the way down the driveway to collect the newspaper.
No, a great story provides you with the kind of smile that tells that world that your spirit has just been lifted and your heart is full of joy. Some people will tell you that these stories are few and far between. If you listen to them they’ll convince you that the reason those stories are so impressive is because of their scarcity. They’ll claim that the lack of frequency, their uncommon nature are part of what make them so special.
Not me, no sir, not I. I won’t give any credence to such nonsense because I know better. Not because I am good at spinning a yarn or adept at telling tales. I know better because I have lived such moments and have an eye for identifying what is special about the seemingly ordinary.
It is a gift that was given to me at birth or so I like to claim. An ability that is not limited to myself, it is really more of a skill that can be gained and improved upon. All it takes is desire and practice. Give of yourself and you’ll find that it exists for you too.
At least that is how I see it. That is the perspective that I have gained after what feels like a thousand years of riding the roller coasters of life. I have loved and lost. I have been loved. I have allowed myself to roam the fields of fire and burned because that was what was required. It wasn’t always easy and there have been more than a few moments in which I have been convinced that I have earned the title of “moronic fool.”
There a million different stories and reasons why. The simple and easiest explanation is to say that I suffered from Don Quixote syndrome and attacked too many windmills. Or so I told myself in moments of doubt and frustration. Some of those were hard times, dark days for myself.
They were days in which dancing in the fire brought more pain than success. Days in which I’d look in the mirror and ask myself if I was suffering from delusions of grandeur. I’d wonder why my reflection didn’t step out from behind the frame and start beating me over the head with whatever object was handy.
It might have made me happier because then I could say that I was crazy, and not in the crazy like a fox way. But I wasn’t crazy then and I am not crazy now. I am now and was then in complete control of my faculties. If anything I suffered from impatience and a fear of what could happen.
But the reason that I think that I am living out one of the great stories that is that I found my heart. Found her and lost her.
“Hello. How are you?
Have you been alright, through all those lonely lonely lonely lonely lonely nights
That’s what I’d say. I’d tell you everything
If you’d pick up that telephone yeah yeah yeah
Hey. How you feelin?
Are you still the same?
Don’t you realize the things we did, we did, were all for real, not a dream?
I just can’t believe
They’ve all faded out of view yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah”
Telephone Line– Electric Light Orchestra
The how and why don’t matter or should I say that they belong to to two people and if you have to ask then you aren’t one of them. That is not to say that I won’t share bits and pieces or that you can’t guess. I don’t say that for the purpose of encouraging you too either, but I know enough about people to know that some of you can’t help it.
And to that other, well I told you a thousand years ago that where I walk thunder and lightning follow. I said that I have been forced to learn how to ride out the storms because that is just how it has been. I promised passion. I promised fire. One kiss and nothing would ever be the same.
I can’t say that you gave me your heart or that I gave you mine because we already shared that. It is hokey, it is a cliche and a million other things but it is true. You know it and I know it. Don’t need anyone else to approve or understand because that is not who we are.
“I have been astonished that men could die martyrs for their religion –
I have shudder’d at it.
I shudder no more.
I could be martyr’d for my religion
Love is my religion
And I could die for that.
I could die for you.”
~ by John Keats ~
Some would call those mere words on a page. They’d ask for more than a few lines as proof. Or they might point out the inconsistencies and inadequacies of those who directed those words to their attention. And it might be understood why and how they do it.
It is easier to run away from some things. Easier to hide from the spotlight and to avoid its glare. I know because I have done both. I have lived on both sides of the fence.
“You will never know true happiness
until you have truly loved,
and you will never understand
what pain really is
until you have lost it.”
~ by Anonymous ~
“I’d like to run away
But if you didn’t come
And find me …
I would die.”
~ by Shirley Bassey ~
There is so much truth that. Such raw honesty and such power. The joy and ecstasy of true happiness can inspire you to reach for the heights you might not otherwise seek. But the flip side can be crushing. To have such a love and lose it is heart wrenching. It will strip you bare and leave you naked and hurting far more quickly than one can imagine.
Instead of basking in the warmth of the fire you find yourself burning, screaming for someone to put out the fire. And the person you seek isn’t there to quench those flames. For whatever reason they are gone, moved on to greener or different pastures.
But if you can withstand the flames and sustain yourself there is more to be found. If you maintain the presence of mind to be aware there are lessons to be learned. If you can catch your breath you can find a way to fortify your heart and to build a new foundation.
You can call that hyperbole or label it juvenile prose with an unhealthy tinge of melodrama if you’d like. Perhaps it is. I’d say that is a just a little bit to the left of such a place and that if we included some sort of line of about a phoenix raising from the ashes than your comment would be well earned.
But that is not the case and that is part of what makes this one of the great stories. Because we started a story whose end must now wait. It is case of the tortoise and the hare, this is not a sprint. This is not so different from the runners you watched above. The men who ran alongside the waves did not have a finish line in sight. They ran because that was what was required to get them to where they want to go. They understood that the finish line was somewhere down the road.
And that is how I see it. The race for my heart isn’t going to be finished any time soon. But one day I will see that line and when the time is right I’ll cross over it.