Welcome to A Life Examined

What is the examined life? A life worth living! As I look at the road ahead, I take all the baggage from the past and use it as experience - the pain and the passion, the sorrow and the joy - allowing it to carve wisdom into my mind and hope into my spirit.
There is no experience that can't be useful to me at some point in my life. There is no lesson learned that cannot make a contribution to the future.
A tiny drop of water is a part of the ocean. A tiny speck in the night sky is a ginormous star in the distance. It all depends on perspective.
So, this examined life is to offer reflections in the hope of discussing things which are of value to myself and to others.
Love, Sarah

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

My "Perfect" Life - part 17

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways..."

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

'How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the height and depth and breadth
My soul can reach when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childlike faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, -- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! -- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.'

B and I went out throughout the summer. We saw each other almost daily -- sometimes alone, more often with other friends around us, steadily. We played baseball with the group, he nursed an infected wound on my elbow for weeks until it healed. (It was the result of a fall from my bike, which I think I wrote about in a previous post.) I got to know his family a bit when we'd hang out at his place and have a sauna. I don't remember a single argument. It was an unsophisticated, uncomplicated relationship. We kissed often; otherwise we were as 'innocent as doves'.

Then came the night before moving day, with a drawn-out goodbye. And with the stress of the inevitable departure came our first argument.

Somewhere in my mind, all summer long, there had always been the question of how we'd say goodbye. Wouldn't B and I have to break up because I was moving 400 miles away? Or in our naive optimism and young love, had we somehow believed we could maintain the relationship through letters and (perhaps) occasional long distance phone calls? In those days, there were no such things as 'bundles' and calling long distance was pretty expensive.

I remember sitting outside, past dusk, with my impatient father inside, waiting for me to go in and get to bed. But instead, B and I were sitting at the end of my next door neighbour's front walk and talking about breaking up. I'd just turned 15 and his 15th birthday would be in a couple of months. I think I was trying to tell him we should break up, so that he could go out with other girls... He was popular and he liked girls, so it seemed to me that not having to be faithful to me would be practical for him.

But I offended him.

I'm not sure exactly what I said that made him cross, but all of a sudden he stood up and began to walk away. I called to him. It wasn't until he had walked halfway down the block, that he turned around and came back.

I think I said sorry, and we hugged each other. I guess we said 'goodbye'. I remember watching as he got on his bike and rode away. I remember the scene. I must have cried.

All summer long the knowledge I'd be moving away had been on my mind. But there was no real stress until that week of, and especially the night before, my departure. I must have underestimated his affection. To this day I don't understand it. But how treasured I must have been to him.

Self-image often bares little resemblance to reality. I never understood what cool, popular, attractive B saw in me. It would take me years to discover I was pretty and so I never understood that boys liked me. B had real grace when it came to me. There was a spring prom yet to come, and a another visit years later. We eventually did go our separate ways, but with a bit more maturity we might have stayed friends.

What is it that men see in women, that women can't see?

You see, I think he really loved me. I certainly fell in love with him, but that wasn't really until months later when he visited me in my new home and we attended my school's Spring Prom.

Reflections have a tender quality I enjoy sharing.

Until next Thursday, may you remember some beautiful memories and make some others.

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