Something to Love


You want to love something. That’s all you’ve ever wanted. It doesn’t matter what you love, it doesn’t matter if it’s a game or story or a person or a new rug. You have probably thought it does matter what you love, that loving one thing will take you nowhere and loving something else will take you somewhere, but once you’re loving, it doesn’t matter at all. Once you’re loving something, you’re where you want to be and it doesn’t matter where you’re going.

It’s easy to say that all I want is to love something, but it’s just as easy to forget it. I forget because just loving something seems so impractical. I cannot see the absolutely clear line between love and my own survival, between love and those numbers in my bank account. Those numbers can freeze your attention, hold it when it should be looking for the next interesting, inspiring, lovely, surprising idea. Look at those numbers too hard and too long and they seem to be all that matters, the measure of everything you’ve done in your life.

And I forget because sometimes I look to the things I loved yesterday, look to the stories I was telling or the shows I was watching or the games I was playing, and I don’t feel any love for them today. It’s an experience that can leave me feeling as though I have at last encountered the inherent emptiness of life. What good is loving something if it’s this capricious? If it’s all I want, why the hell is it coming and going and coming and going?

Fortunately, forgetting works both ways. I’ve heard the theory that women forget the pain of childbirth so that they’ll be willing to keep having babies. What a dark, pointless theory. As if all that has ever mattered to us is keeping this species going. I don’t believe a mother’s love for her newborn is any purer, any more real, any more meaningful than her love of needlepoint or music or accounting, but it is uniquely startling. All at once, something complete that wasn’t there a moment before is looking you right in the face, and if you don’t look away, you have to forget pain and boredom and money because all your attention is consumed by love.

If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual coaching and group workshops.