By "loved ones" I mean something broader, and I think more accurate, than the common connotation. Certainly I mean loved friends and family --- I'd be a fool not to love them most. But here I also include loved memories, loved agendas, loved arts. And so on: loved itches, agitations, imperfections, unknowns.
But first things first. To talk about love, we'll need to start with one deep breath: inhaling generosity (big inhale) .... and then slowly exhaling our tendency to find love saccharine and naive until we've triumphantly unearthed its darker complications and thereby reinforced the deep-rooted sentiment of all burned idealists that we should not expect too much because Life Isn't Like That (okay, big inhale again). Good. Now that we're breathing from the diaphragm, I'd like to start with Jen.
Aloe to a burned idealist.
Nay, skin grafts. The whole nine yards. Mere weeks before Jen first stopped by my basement suite in Vancouver, B.C. – with her lame excuse that she wanted to show me a photo, and my lame excuse that I wanted to show her Dad's weblog “so she could see the Blue Ridge Mountains” – I had decided, yet again, that monastic life was for me.
Or more to the point, I’d decided that the marked alternative – life with another – was NOT for me. My relational record spoke for itself.
1998: Idealist first burned, and badly.
2000: In love again. Idealist again. Burned again.
And really, from then on, a long string of returning the favor: a twice-burned idealist, like a trained specialist, administering burns.
And then came Jen Rice, spring of 2005, just weeks into my monastic idyll, bringing her own lame excuses and accepting mine. That was the last of chants and candles; an hour later we were deep in the