Sunday, September 4, 2011

Unconditional Love, Unrequited Love

My earliest memories are deliriously happy ones, secure, safe and loving. I was raised by a single mom but the towering influence in my life was my grandmother, Lottie. Always spoiled, I got everything that I wanted, including plenty that I didn't need. My working mother sacrificed plenty of basic needs for herself to provide me with frivolous junk. By the time that I was old enough to drive legally I was on my third car, a '32 Ford three window coupe with a 283 Corvette engine. My first "real" electric guitar was a 3 pickup Rickenbacker. This is not the smartest way to build character in your kid and I suspect that my mom knew this at some level.

Now the other side of this coin is that I was loved beyond reason and wrapped up in the soul of the sweetest and wisest woman that you can imagine. Grandma had raised her five children as a single mother after my grandfather had died at an early age from Bright's Disease. She had done the best that she could, working full time managing the school cafeteria in their small town of Jemison, Alabama.

She moved in with my mom to take care of me, freeing my mother to work as an information operator at the telephone company to provide for us. Grandma was not going to miss a moment with her beloved Ronny. I wish that everyone could grow up in similar circumstances. Every important thing that I know I learned from her. She taught me to pray, "Give us peace on earth and end this dreadful, dreadful war."

I suppose that we were praying for an end to the Korean War at the time. By the time that I was old enough to consider war and peace as a concept, I realized that there are no good wars.

Now, as a seasoned failure at romance, I question my humanity and my worth. I recently had a superficial conversation with a friend who explained to me that she is suffering through a terrible bout of the blues based on unrequited love. She's in love with him. He's not in love with her. It broke my heart just to hear her say the words.

Alan Watts once said, "Never to pretend to a love which you do not actually feel, for love is not ours to command."

I don't know that I have ever really changed my mind about anything. I don't know that I have any understanding of the concept of falling out of love. The friends that I made as a kid are still my friends and I love them dearly.

I pout and feel sorry for myself when I think that I'm wronged or mistreated and I'm quick to lash out when I feel hurt. That has never been anything but a crude defensive device to ward off hurt. I forgive immediately and I'm quick to apologize.

If I am a square hole in this round peg world I think that it comes from being spoiled with love. Unconditional love, the richest gift in the world.