There Is Only Time for Loving

Zdzisław Beksiński

There isn’t time, so brief is life, for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. There is only time for loving, and but an instant, so to speak, for that.

Mark Twain

Balloons, roses, chocolates, teddy bears – It’s just another commercial quasi-holiday that has been easy to ignore, like Christmas and Easter, only vaguely rooted in historical events, times and places. And yet in all these, there’s a seminal idea, hard to throw out along with all the stanky cultural bathwater, in this case of idealized (and often toxic) romance. Of course we want to express our love for those dearest to us, and what kind of bastard would avoid doing that just because of the cultural pollution surrounding the date?  There are some of those bastards out there!  Perhaps better to put the whole thing on our own terms, whatever that might look like – a good snog on the rug, a nod or a wink, some kind expression or gesture, perhaps without even acknowledging the date. 

Nothing has been more important to me in this life than to do my best at understanding and only then learning to practice love. You’d think that would be easy, or at least easier, given how much lip-service it gets in religious texts, yet the Bible neither defines it nor tells us what it is. It only gives us examples. It seems to me there’s nothing more central to the human experience beyond mere survival. Some surrender the latter for lack of the former, which tragically seems to make the point. 

I see throughout the year posts on social media celebrating my friends’ life partners – birthdays, anniversaries, other rites of passages and celebrations. I react to them both with joy that so many of you are experiencing these intimacies, and yet I feel a twinge each time (yes, each time) because such has not been my lot in life so far, for any number of reasons. I often think of my friend Gene Eugene’s line, “all you lucky people…”

I do not ask for or want sympathy. My life is rich and full, and love comes from many places. I have had seasons of romantic love – I’ve climbed up on that altar – and seasons without it. I’ve enjoyed both, and have learned to recognize, appreciate and celebrate the puts and takes of each, and there are many!  Sometimes it’s 51/49 one way, then 49/51 the other, 60/40 one way, or 40/60 the other. And yet, there is that twinge, that fantasy of what might be, what’s possible, learning to love at that level, in that context. Of course sometimes there’s no place lonelier than inside an unhealthy relationship too; puts and takes. 

There’s a lesson somewhere in all this. In all conditions andcircumstances, there is love. Love is always possible.  The 80-year study in this link on What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness,concludes thus:

“Good, close relationships are good for our health and well-being, this is wisdom that’s as old as the hills. Why is this so hard to get and so easy to ignore? Well, we’re human. What we’d really like is a quick fix, something we can get that’ll make our lives good and keep them that way. Relationships are messy and they’re complicated and the hard work of tending to family and friends, it’s not sexy or glamorous. It’s also lifelong. It never ends.  […] Our study has shown that the people who fared the best were the people who leaned in to relationships, with family, with friends, with community.” 

May we all lean in a little today, however that looks for you. Someone is there. May you not only feel loved, even a bit, but perhaps more important, may you feel that the love you have to give is well-received.

5 thoughts on “There Is Only Time for Loving

  1. Such an enjoyable read, Joey….and boy…can I relate. Happy Valentines Day to you….you were definitely my 80’s- 90’s “Christian crush.” 🙂

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