When Love comes into your life

The following excerpt is from an Ernest Hemingway novel For Whom The Bell Tolls.  In this paragraph the main character Robert Jordan has just made love with Maria.  A woman he met in a guerrilla camp which is helping him to blow a bridge.

“If this was how it was then this was how it was.  But there was no law that made him say he liked it.  I did not know that I could ever feel what I have felt, he thought.  Nor that this could happen to me.  I would like to have it for my whole life.  You will, the other part of him said.  You will.  You have it now and that is all your whole life is; now.  There is nothing else than now.  There is neither yesterday, certainly, nor is there any tomorrow.  How old must you be before you know that?  There is only now, and if now is only two days, then two days is your life and everything in it will be in proportion.  This is how you live a life in two days.  And if you stop complaining and asking for what you never will get, you will have a good life.  A good life is not measured by any biblical span.”

It is apparent to me that Hemingway is talking about love not  just love.  But the first love.  The kind that makes you want to live another day because you never want to lose the feeling.  The kind of love that makes your heart ache as much as it makes it flutter.  Interestingly enough Hemingway is known for his themes of war and death.  Something obviously has to offset the morbidity of his writing and he has found it in soft tones of love.  His characters seem to fall in love fast and hard.  This one in particular, Robert Jordan, comes into a camp of rebels with the hopes of blowing a strategic bridge held by fascists in order for an offensive to be made by the Republic.  The reason the bridge must be blown is that so no backup reinforcements can make there way to the battle.  Robert Jordan comes into the story with a tacticians mindset, cold and expecting some form of death.  As soon as his love Maria comes into the story his subjectivity changes.  He now laments death and wishes to have his love for his whole life.  In his head he fights with himself about having his love for the future and living with his love in the moment.  “There is nothing else than now.”  he thinks.  He knows death could be imminent.  So why squander a beautiful love, a beautiful moment.  Something that can’t be defined by physical description, something that can’t be bought or sold.  Love is something that comes from the deepest part of human consciousness and is just as hard to explain.  I enjoy how he transcends from “I want to have it for my whole life” to realizing that if he only lives for two days, then that is your whole life.  There is no way to predict the end.  So live your life in the moments that are guaranteed.  The only moment that is assured is now.  So if you love, then love.  Don’t think about it in the future.  Cherish it for what it is now.

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The Chucks

“When your shoes have character”

He was doing Spring cleaning when he came across his old pair of white hi-top chucks.  When he picked them up he was immersed into a flood of memories about his life the past few years.

It made him think about the things that passed through his life without meaning.  These dirty white Chucks with the big hole in the left foot and the dirt caked around the out sole were far from meaningless.  You could barely see the red and blue stripe.  He must have wore them for a year straight at one point.  It wasn’t that he didn’t have any other options.  It was that he saw the value in The Chucks more than any of the other pairs in his arsenal.  Each hole or spot of dirt told a story.

They had a synonymous relationship.  It was flawless really.  He was always asking too much of them.  They were always there for him through any weather or outfit.  He and his Chucks were worth more together than they were on their own.  They helped him make his tracks in a new city.  They were his brother when his family was gone.  They were there for him when she wasn’t.  They were with him through life and death.  Through sickness and health.  They had a distinct matrimony.  When people told him to “buy a new pair” it was blasphemy.  To him each hole was holy.  Whether he was walking on stars or through back alleys.  Rough days at the beach or wild nights at the club.  Through fall rain or ball games.  Through complacency and promiscuity. Through  stagnation and inspiration.  Through baked fish or fried chicken.  Through days full of tea or nights full of Hennessy, The Chucks were there.

So he sat in his home, with The Chucks in his lap.  With the memories of his life and the miles that he walked in them.  The things that he had lost didn’t compare to the knowledge that he had gained.  They reminded him of the little things.  They showed him that no matter how bad things get, as long as you keep going you will find a better day.  The old dirty shoes motivated him more than brand new ones.  That’s how you know your shoes have character.