As for Love II....
Bill Long 1/12/05
I was divorced in 2001 after a 24-year marriage. This is not the place to reflect on that relationship; I do so amply in 52 and Strangely Found: An Autobiography Intellectual and Intimate (2004). But since the declining days of my marriage I have come across women who have wanted to enter my life--women to whom I am sure I gave out signals that I wanted to enter theirs as well. It has confirmed the truth of Kinsey's line in the film, "As for love, we are all in the dark."
I now know the signs that you are falling for me, even though I am not falling for you. They (these aformentioned signs) are easy for me to spot. Your face relaxes and you smile at me more and more. Your shoulders bend slightly inward. Eyes fix. You seem to take delight in my words and my stories. You become uncharacteristically giddy, falsely berating yourself for acting like a 16 year-old. You tell me all this. And I, as you probably know, love the attention, am intrigued by your words and smiles, and I watch your body language and your body. I know that you are affectionate and like the feel of a man's hand and chest and body. I sense that my words, my tone, my presence is taking us on a journey that you are enjoying immensely. And I am enjoying it, too.
Words tumble from our lips. Experiences from our past rush upon us, vying with each other to be next in line to tell the other person. The journey I feel we are one is one in which we see the movie of our lives played out on the gorge-like cliffs between which we are gently floating together. I am buoyed by the water, the boat, your heart. I feel as if I could float forever.
It never stops with the pleasant floating feeling. It always goes further. Bed is next. It just is. Or, the relationship ends. To Bed, of course, to Bed. But things are different in Bed than on the raft, for some reason. Quick repartee and insightful comments, flowing stories from the past and incisive analyses are not so prized. The Bed has different rules, different expectations, requires different things. It requires one to skate, even if the only advice one receives is "Skate." Bed exposes the quick of our hearts to each other. Or, it should.
Here is system disconnect. It's so easy to fall in love. Just skate. Let go and let God. Go with the flow. Stop living from your mind. Live by cliches. But the mind refuses to be silent. The mind doesn't mind. It undermines. It underminds. St. Paul, when reflecting on the tension within, between his sin nature and the grace of Christ, burst out, "Wretched man that I am. Who will deliver me from this body of death?" The only thing is, he thought he had an answer. "Thanks be to God." And then Handel had the skill to set "Thanks be to God" (though from a different biblical verse) to music. And we all sing "Thanks be to God" and think we have an answer.
I think it will take far more than God to get me out of this one. Was Paul fooling himself?
Copyright © 2004-2007 William R. Long