Wednesday, October 18, 2017

On LOVE and LUST (For a good friend and young firefighter and family man, Eric)

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Eric Parker Waterville, Fire Department

Sometimes (actually often) life is hard. For some of us, it can even feel unbearable, at times.
I know it's easy to say, things will get better, that, "It's always darkest before the dawn," but that doesn't change the NOW.

There are times when we all really have to reassess our lives...everything in them. Sometimes it can be, "Am I in the right job?" Sometimes, it's "Am I in the right relationship?"

It's very hard to honestly question such things, because it seems like questioning our very essence...questioning who we really are.

Beyond all that, this (the Fall into the Winter) is a very tough time of year for all of us. The days grow shorter, darkness prevails and that has a depressive effect...more pronounced in some of us and at various times when we're more susceptible.

We need to be able to forgive OURSELVES, for only then can we truly forgive others.

Despite how unbearable things may seem it's almost never the right thing to think about escape through death. It takes much more courage to confront. In the worst of times, in the depths of despair...THAT'S when we need to figure out what's really important to us.

Sometimes jobs are lost, or changed. Sometimes relationships fail...but LIFE goes on, often, ultimately for the better.

In most relationships, the bulk of our problems are communication problems. We don't put things well, or we get frustrated and hurt those we love. ALL of us go through that. It's hard to see what we're doing wrong when we're doing it. It's like trying to see our own grammatical mistakes after having written something. Someone else can spot them right away, but we can't. We overlooked them when we made them and continue to do the same each time go over what we wrote.

One thing I believe I've learned along the way is that while lust is the magnetic attraction that brings people together, it is ultimately a poor imitation of LOVE.

Lust is all attraction, hedonism and pleasure, LOVE is duty and responsibility. It's HARD WORK. Lust fades under the monotony of the mundane and crumbles under the ponderous weight of the responsibilities of family. THAT’S when the hard work of real LOVE begins.

LOVE isn't something we "fall into," LOVE is something we build. It's earned with duty, dedication and loyalty...over time. When the lust is long gone, the LOVE we build will be there stronger and bigger than ever.

I learned what love was as a child, but I didn't understand the lesson until much later in life.

My Dad, raised through the Great Depression, serving in the Navy in World War II & Korea, then getting on the FDNY in time for its "war years," wore the same old coat for nearly 20 years, rarely got new shoes, and he WORKED...struggled...and STUDIED like mad to provide his family (his wife and kids) a better life.

I took that momentous act of LOVE for granted as a child, because, as a child I couldn't understand it. Many of us live out our entire lives without understanding that...many, MANY of us!

LOVE is duty, honor, dedication and the hard work of BUILDING something of value. Lust is the mere spark of attraction that, if the eventual connection is true, allows for LOVE to take root.

Lust fades, but a well earned, well built LOVE can last forever.

The FIRST principle is "Be good to YOURSELF." FIRST, love yourself enough to forgive yourself for all the flaws we all share as mortals. We each NEED to do that, before we can truly build a lasting LOVE with someone else.

The SECOND principle is to, "Be patient with YOURSELF." Nothing worth having comes easily...or quickly.

LIFE is hard...LOVE is work, but the value of life is found in what we build, NOT that which we "fall into."

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