A few days ago, I came across this interesting post on serotonin and dopamine and was reminded of it yesterday as I was listening to the songs of Barry Manilow. (OK. Please. Just be patient with me. I do have a point I want to share.)
When I was younger (“…so much younger than today…”) whenever I heard Barry Manilow’s songs, I would sing along until I cried (Yeah, I was that disgustingly dramatic.) I would think of the guys that I liked but didn’t even know I existed, or the guys that I liked but were not free, or the only one that broke my heart to pieces. (Who would not cry listening to “Even Now” and “Somewhere down the Road”???)
Now that I’m in my 40’s and in a stable, loving relationship with my husband of 10 years, and together raising a child, I feel absolutely nothing when I hear the songs that used to make me cry and later make me smile. When I listened to those same songs yesterday, there was not even a sigh. Nada. It seemed like that part of my mind or my heart just disappeared!
My husband thinks it’s just because I’m over that time in my life. Well, I have been over that period in my life for years now. But I used to have fond memories of that time. Now, even that fondness is gone.
So I wonder if those chemicals in my brain are up to something, or I am just getting old or already old.
Do old songs still make you cry or smile or angry? Do they have any effect on you at all?
“The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.” — Harriet Beecher Stowe
How often have you heard people say: I wish I had done this. I wish I had said that, after someone had left them? I have heard those too many times. I have even said them a few times when I was younger.
Most of the time we just take for granted the people around us, especially those close to us. We care about them, yet daily life makes us forget their need for affirmation. Or perhaps we are embarrassed to express our appreciation or even love for them. Unlike little children who would give a loving parent a kiss or a hug just because they feel like doing so, adults would think twice about showing affection for whatever reason.
When we, unexpectedly, lose someone, we tend to regret so many things. We cry because there are words we had wanted to say to them but did not get the chance to say (because, who knew he would die today?) Perhaps we had promised to visit but never got around to doing so. These regrets and the guilt can last a long time. I know. After 14 years, I still have not forgiven myself for not spending more time with my father before he passed on.
With my mother, my sisters and I were able to say what we wanted to say to her before she left us: we said sorry for the times we made her cry; we told her we loved her; we promised to look out for each other. And she, herself, was able to confess, ask forgiveness, and thank people, and let her daughters know what she wished for us to be and to do.
When my mother passed on, tears were shed. But they weren’t bitter tears. They were tears of sadness as we said goodbye to her, knowing we won’t see her again; they were also tears of love as we prayed for her eternal rest.
We may not know the time we will lose someone we care about, but we can try to avoid shedding bitter tears when they go, by saying those words and doing those deeds meant for them.
Whether Pablo Neruda wrote this poem for his country, Chile, or for his wife, Matilde Urrutia does not make much difference to me. I like the kind of love portrayed in this poem. I like the tone of the speaker as he warns his lover …
“If you forget me
I want you to know
one thing. ”
It is not the sound of a desperate, pathetic lover who begs or promises to continue to wait even though the other has moved on.
It shows a speaker who thinks and is not controlled by silly emotions, a speaker/lover who demands reciprocity in a relationship.For truly, if one can be, and is reasonable, one will demand reciprocity in a relationship.
(Even God demands, commands love and faithfulness!)
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.”
Who wants to be forgotten by the one person you cannot forget? Of course, trying to forget someone is easier said than done. The more you try to forget, the more you will be reminded. This is perhaps the speaker’s way of saying, “Don’t think I will be pining for you. I will forget you before you can completely forget me!”
“If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.
“…and my roots will set off/ to seek another land.” This is how it should be. One should be brave in seeking and starting a new life and not waste time and energy on someone who has forgotten.
Though the poem begins with a kind of warning, a threat as to what the speaker can do should his lover forget him, it ends with a promise, an enticement as to what he can give if his lover remains true to him,
“…ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.”
I have often wondered what Jesus meant when he said one should forgive seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-35). I don’t think anyone will take that literally (like 490 times), but I guess it means many, many times.
If God could forgive the world for what the world did to His Son (unlike Leonardo diCaprio’s character in The Revenant), then how could we, mere mortals, not forgive our fellow mortals?
But that’s just it. We are not God. We can try to forgive one person many, many times, but in the end the other gift that God gave us –reason, logic — would teach us to protect ourselves from being fooled, cheated or hurt again.
My question then is, is it immoral to refuse to give someone who has betrayed you, lied to you, hurt you, for the nth time, a chance for the nth time?
In the parable, the king sounded like a businessman, a moneylender who was compassionate enough to cancel a slave’s debt and actually “let him go”, after the latter begged the king to give him time to pay the debt.
Say for instance, the parable ended there, and the slave did not beat up a fellow slave who had owed him, would the king have trusted the same slave again? Would he have lent him money again? I don’t think so.
My point then is, yes, we can forgive people for the many times they betrayed our trust,for the many times they hurt us. But I think only a fool would give the same amount of trust to traitors/wrongdoers.
To me, forgiveness means accepting the fact that one was wronged, and not wishing the wrongdoer any ill, and actually sincerely wishing him well. But it does not necessarily mean giving him a second chance. Rather, it means letting him go his own way. Alone. Peacefully.
“Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”
For My Miming
You would close your eyes
Stiffen your body
And hold your breath for a minute
Not making a sound, not moving an inch,
Making me think
You were dead
That you’d left me
And it was my fault.
You used to enjoy telling people
How scared I was as I shook your body
How hard you tried to control your laughter,
And how smart I was
To tickle your foot to “wake” you up.
Now as I look at how your lids don’t move
As your eyes are closed
Your body stiff and cold to the touch,
I am tempted to tickle your foot again.
But I’m not a child anymore
And I know this is no longer the silly game
That the once-goofy mother
Used to play with her youngest child.
The machines don’t lie
You have really left me
And you won’t wake
No matter how many times
I whisper in your ear
Or squeeze your hand
Or kiss your cheeks.
The game has ended.
And I lost.