Lines from a Patty Duke song.
“Please don’t just stand there. . . . Tell me what, tell me what’s on your mind.”
If there ever was a time to: “Tell her you care, each time you speak, make it her birthday, each day of the week. Bring her nice things, sugar and spice things.” It is Valentine’s Day.
“We are all born for love. It is the principle of existence, and its only end,” writes Benjamin Dsraeli. And he is right.
We are by nature very believing beings. Much of our ability to love and care for one another comes from our parents. This is so vividly expressed in Walt Disney’s Dumbo, as the mother elephant sings:
“From your head to your toes
You’re so sweet, goodness knows.
You are so precious to me,
Baby mine, baby mine.
When our parents told us that we were special, that they loved us and promised to take care of us, we believed them. It was so gratifying to have their unconditional love.
Promises. We are all raised on promises. Much of our society and culture is held together by the promises we make to one another. Teachers, lawyers, doctors, realtors and politicians all make a promise to uphold the integrity of their professions. The reason that a couple can celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary is because they kept the promises they made to one another 50 years earlier. And when someone tells us they love us, we believe them.
Love is life’s most intense emotion. It is our nature to want to be connected to another human being, to belong and be part of something greater than ourselves.
Most people would say that they have been in love at least once in their life. And they may have discovered what The Beatles write about in their song, “If I Fell,” “that love is more than just holding hands.” Love is also more than the neurochemical phenylethyalamine that flows from our brain into our blood stream, which produces exaggerated and unpredictable behavior whenever we meet a man or woman that we are attracted to.
Some of the major qualities of love are: trust, honesty, communication, encouragement, sharing, giving, friendship, and equal and reciprocal unconditional acceptance and understanding of one another.
For those who seek to: control, possess, exploit, criticize, lie to, be suspicious of, be selfish, be an emotional blackmailer, risk the threat of impending loneliness. From Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, we get a taste of that loneliness when young Scrooge sings:
“You don’t know how it feels when you talk
and nobody’s voice talks back.
“A hand for each hand was planned for the world
Why don’t my fingers reach?
Millions of grains of sand in the world?
Why such a lonely beach?
“Where is a voice to answer mine back?
Where are two shoes that click to my clack?
I’m all alone in the world.”
Add to that the lyrics from The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” “Eleanor Rigby died in a church and was buried along with her name, nobody came, . . . all the lonely people, where do they all come from?” I can think of nothing worse than to be buried along with your name, an uneventful, meaningless, contributionless life easily forgotten by a turn from a page in a newspaper.
“Who is gonna love me?,” a poignant line from a Dionne Warwick classic and age-old question. Who is going to love you? Part of the answer can be found in a quote by Gretta Brooker Palmer. “Happiness is the byproduct of an effort to make somebody else happy.” For when people practice the Golden Rule, to treat others as you wish to be treated, will cause all kinds of “fools to rush in where wise men never tread.”
A second half of the answer may depend on our ability to walk from behind our masks of pretense, self-importance and, leaving our checklistof conditions behind, stand exposed with only our true personality, ready to commit to a lasting relationship.
“On a microscopic piece of sand,” “afloat in the universe without end” is the sum total of human life. And, through the eyes of time as we know it, our existence is but a blink in the scheme of things. With some imagination, can be heard echoing from the dark, human hearts crying out to one another: “Please don’t just stand there. . . . Tell me what, tell me what’s on your mind.”
Life is an exercise in exceptions,” so please excuse this departure from business as usual to celebrate an important day in the life of all people. Happy Valentine’s Day.
Al Cruz of Ventura County wrote this originally in Jan. 22, 1994, and stated that he had it published in the VCReporter over a decade ago.