Ever since I started blogging, I’ve been writing about those things that interest me, or interest others, within the framework of the give and take in the blog world. I never really tried to present a diary or a log of my own day to day adventures. Nor did I try to meet any of the ‘challenges’ that circulate here in blogland. But there is something about the immediacy of the internet that does fascinate me. And on occasion, when I was away from home, with a portable computer in my back pack, equipped with a cellular modem and able to connect to the net from almost any corner of the world, I did want to share some feeling or experience immediately. A few months ago, I was in the north. Late at night, I took a somewhat abstract picture, after a very full and emotional day, and thought I’d upload it, and accompany it with a poem written on the spot, in order to enjoy that experience of sharing the ‘here and now’ with my readers. For some reason, that very evening, I had a problem uploading the picture, and so abandoned the attempt, and haven’t tried since.
But last night, as I was dining with a few very dear friends, at a restaurant, in honor of Valentine’s day… which is probably a day I have never celebrated before… I had some thoughts about the subject, as a red balloon sporting a cartoon heart, sashayed above our heads, tied to a bottle on the table… it occurred to me that it would be fun to share the experience with you, my readers.
We belonged to three different generations, and came from all parts of Israel to meet here in Jerusalem. One of the youngsters was in the army, and had just arrived from the battle front, taken a shower, and joined us for a good time. We have very different interests and live different lives. And in fact, none of us are really motivated by St. Valentine’s day, but it was a good excuse to have a good time, and get together. And the decorations in the restaurant of our choice set the scene for a celebration. We chose to make the most of the positive vibes. There was music in the background, almost drowned out by the conversations at our table and around us. But all the same, at one point, I made the effort and was able to identify the almost subliminal presentation of a song… the Beatles singing, ‘I want to hold your hand’. It was an Asian restaurant, but kosher… and so I don’t really know how similar the food was to what we might eat in the far east. But it was tasty and exotic for us, and we drank sparkling wine with the food and had a very good time. Smoking was forbidden, and so I would go out to the balcony between courses, and have a cigarette near the strategically placed ashtray, standing in the cold, and watching the traffic out on the street, and the city lights, full of spirit, and reflecting the constant stream of activity around us.
Sitting around the table, I thought of my mother’s comment about ‘mothers’ day’. She had said, “If it’s not everyday… if it’s just one day a year… I don’t want it”. And I thought of the nature of a day, dedicated to romantic love. It seemed to me, that even if it was rare… even if it was only once a year… it was better than none at all, just so long as it was real and it worked. And then, I thought of romantic love, and how often it gets lost in the day to day grind, and the buckets of banalities that we have to deal with, sometimes face to face with those we’ve chosen as partners in living this life. As we drank the intoxicating beverages, I was talking to the young man across the table from me, and he mentioned drunkenness. I shared with him the thought that getting drunk is missing the experience. That I had found that the greatest appreciation of intoxication is to get pleasantly high, so as to be more sensitive to the music, the sights, the company of those around you, and to maintain that sense of appreciation for hours without letting it diminish or overcome you and then cause you to lose control of your actions.
And as I thought of that, I was looking for a key to understanding how to maintain romantic love without seeing it turn into disregard, or resentment, or any of the other negative phenomena that are so often seen in relationships that have grown old. As I contemplated the subject, I realized that the key to continued love is to remember that we are all different as people, and that very often we are attracted to people who are essentially different from us. And that the more we are aware of that, and don’t try to force our loved ones to act and think as we do, and don’t think of them as ‘belonging’ to us, but marvel at our capacity to bridge the gaps and truly appreciate them for what they are, the more we can marvel at the connection we have with them. I believe that when the French say, ‘long live the difference’, they are referring to the difference between the sexes, but I would like to adopt their toast, and direct my appreciation to the differences between human beings in general. So here’s to the differences, and to everlasting love.