I had been sick for years. I had acquired a mysterious rheumatoid disease in 1992 for which there seemed to be no correct diagnosis, or treatment. I had been referred to various specialists and I had tried various therapies. Nothing helped very much.
I was in constant pain. Everything hurt. My muscles and joints throbbed day and night. Moving anything caused extreme pain, so I avoided moving as much as possible. I spent my days under a blanket in a lazyboy chair, dozing off and on while watching TV. When I did get to sleep, I spent my nights soaked in sweat. My hands were painful throbbing frozen claws. There was no improvement in sight. I was told I had to learn to "live with your disability." I watched the O.J. Trial gavel to gavel, month after month. Then I watched the entire Impeachment of Bill Clinton. I was getting an education.
I discovered I could reduce the pain with extremely hot baths 100° Fahrenheit (37°C) or hotter was about right. During really bad periods I would take three baths per day: morning, noon and night.
My one diversion was to periodically get up from my chair and go to my office. There I would correspond by e-mail and write. I began corresponding with Jennifer in the early 1990s. She would tell me about the children and David, her husband.
We met in Vancouver ten years before. Jennifer would get married and have two little girls. She was very beautiful: She had long red hair, translucent skin with freckles (which she hated), and a lovely face with grey-blue eyes and exquisitely fine features. Jennifer was five foot ten, slender and graceful. She sometimes worked as a model. She had style; she was cultured; she was educated; she could be witty and she was smart. Jennifer was exotic.
One day, Jennifer told me that she was divorcing her husband. I was surprised because they had a happy marriage. They went through unpleasant meetings with lawyers. She got the house and the children and support for them. They didn't have much money to fight over.
Jennifer and I began corresponding more often. Soon, I would write to her every evening and every morning I would read what she had written during the night. This routine would go on for years. It was very important to me. She gave me a reason to live. I dont know what it meant to her. It meant something, I suppose. Someone elses feelings are inside a "black box". I dont know what is going on inside their heads. I can only observe what is going on outside. I develop working hypotheses. I don't make assumptions about people or claim to understand them.
Jennifer always made it clear that she was not interested in romance. She would back away if things seemed to be moving in that direction. I would avoid any hints. Though, sometimes I would send flowers on appropriate occasions. She liked roses. She liked daffodils too. They were her favourite flower. One spring I sent her a box (24 x 24 = 576 King Alfred daffodils). "I'll never forget this," she exclaimed! Jennifer liked chocolates too. I kept writing. She kept answering.
One day, I was sitting in the darkness of my cell (er, my office) which was lit only by the connection of my Macintosh to the Internet. I had this revelation:
was unhappy (I was a failure; I was in pain and I was severely crippled;
I had nothing; Jennifer didn't love me; What could I offer her? Or anyone?
I had had a lifetime of experience in the field of unrequited love, that is, love that is not returned. I had always fallen in love with the most beautiful girl in school. She would be the head cheerleader. She would never be interested in me, of course. She and the quarterback would become a couple. He would be the son of the richest man in town. They would go on to live happily ever after. I would go on to be lonely. Most people won't admit they are losers. Some people go off and do something perverse. Some show up one day with a gun. So what was this insight about, I wondered?
This was about direction.
Love radiates from the one who feels love. Thats it. That's what it is. Love is a feeling. Love is not about getting something. Thats why showering someone with love will not make them love you if they don't. Either they love you, or they dont. You have nothing to do with it. Love isn't even about giving something. You cannot manipulate someone elses feelings. If you try to do that, they will hate you. Guaranteed!
Expressing love makes you feel good. So if you feel it, express it! Now I do! Don't expect something "in return". Certainly don't demand anything. A gift is a gift. You give a gift because it makes you feel good. If you expect to be paid, it is not a gift and its certainly not an expression of love. It's creepy.
Of course people who are used to thinking of love the other way will be confused. "What's he up to," they will wonder? But most people like to be loved. So don't worry about people who don't understand.
Babies are happy because they love their mothers. Not because their mothers are the grocery store. Mothers are happy because they love their babies. Despite the fact that babies are a lot of work.
Nature is smart. She set this up to work.
this puts you in charge of your own emotions, you cannot be taken advantage
of by someone you love who doesnt love you. Since you do not abuse
others, you are unlikely to be abused and you are immune to abuse anyway.
see things backward because they deny love itself. Love is ethereal. Materialists
mistake sex for love for the same reason. They just don't get it.
be abused. Don't be miserable. Don't be lonesome. Don't have regrets or
dream of things that could have been. Don't be "needy". Fall
in love. Make the world a better place while making yourself a happier
I told her about my discovery about love, she was "offended".
She said, "I'll never speak to you again." She didn't understand
what I meant when I said I didn't "need" her, I suppose. Jennifer
would have become accustomed to men who "need" her. I didn't
hear from her for months. I went to Wakaw to see Dr. Cenaiko and I started
to get better. Finally she wrote again. I was pretty happy. I answered.
our daily correspondence and I continued to improve. Then my disease returned.
I went into a coma. After I had recovered enough to write, we wrote again,
every day. A year later, in August 2001, I discovered why I had been sick.
I discovered what
was responsible! Our correspondence continued. Just a few words every
I got better, fifteen years after I got sick. Last summer (2006), we were going to see each other. I was excited. But, Jennifer always said she didn't want a romance. She made other plans at the last minute. I cancelled my flight. She stopped writing.
she is well. She was a good friend all those years when I needed a friend
and I had nothing. She made me feel that I had everything. I'll remember
her at Christmas. I'll remember her during every Christmas.
is golden. She lives in my heart. And what are those good feelings I get
several times every day? That's her.
Via Con Dios. Of course, I miss you.