the lost man chronicles
book two: the art of love

suffering (remembering how pleasant it was)

I once read, "'The sweetest joy, the wildest woe is love.' I'm interested in the joy and the woe since the woe can lead to tremendous growth, if you know what to do with it."

I was intrigued. Yet, there was something that pushed me back a little as well. For as far as I could tell, it was not her epistolary style, because she employed the tickle of alliteration quite gracefully. And after a while of pondering, it came to me—it was the repetitive allusions to the suffering. Three woes is three woes too many for me.

Granted, when one compares this sincere supplication with the vast majority of rose-colored crap that others offer the lonely, Hers seems quite real and appealingly well-balanced.

Yet, even after logically determining that this indeed was thus a reasonable plea, I could not help but still see red before my eyes.

Its just that I don't like suffering.

I gather most don't either, although there are those who have proven otherwise, and will not hesitate to drag you though their mire.

Pulling myself apart from such lackluster and murky memories however, I can sincerely say that I've had a fair share of relational experiences where suffering was rarely, if ever, present, and to be true to their spirit, were for the most part unregrettably and unforgettably pleasant.

Thus, that said, I don't believe that suffering is necessarily something that needs to be shared. Because, quite frankly some of us are just prone to suffer more than others, even if we all are stuck in the same situation.

Suffering, lamenting and woes are quite opposed to bliss, joy and happiness—because the former are all too personal. It is easy to share the latter though, and at times impossible not to realize these positives without an acquiescing lover.

That said, I do not believe that suffering is a sine qua non for a meaningful relationship, far from.

In fact, the weight we give pain is all too-often overblown. Sure, certainly, we can grow because of our trials and tribulations, and yes, a woman cannot be perfected without such, just as much as a piece of coal cannot be made into a diamond without the pressure. BUT, the warmth of the sun, the refreshing rehydration and the soothing moist feel of soil all help us grow too. Flora find these sustaining sundries just as necessary to live and flourish. And as far as I can tell, roses don't do much crying, nor do willow trees ever truly lament.

There will always then be at least two ways of looking at things. When written in Chinese, the word "crisis” (pronounced Way-Jee) is composed of two characters: one represents danger, the other opportunity. Thus, for those who can't help but hurt, they see the coin fall and hang their heads to read suffering. But for those who can and often do tolerate the tedium with a quip, the coin more often flips to rejoicing.

"...the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not our circumstances." ~ Martha Washington

Alas, sometimes we get stuck in a rut, in the trenches of life, and we just happen to share this plight with a whiner. And being the winner that you are, you mull over and over leaving the front line. You think, "Fate, please liberate me from the company of this bemoaning bore!" So much so, despite the small hole you both have committed to serve in, you want to turn to them and say:

"Look, you're liable to always lead a miserable life, and I just don't want to live it with you anymore. You're programmed to be unhappy and any overflow of joy from me cannot fulfill you, because you are prone to take what I share with you and almost inevitably discard it. You are cursed by your own sick state of mind to be forever blind to happiness, even when there is someone in your life who tries very hard to give it to you. I can no longer go on sacrificing that natural wealth of optimism I was born with simply to be with you, you have spent my willingness to fill your glass, because, alas, every time I go out of my way to see that it is at least half full, you purposefully empty it. I do not care to fade into the oblivion of your vast wasteland of scheduled and proper nonsense. You have extracted too many sighs from me, I have rolled my eyes too many times, and now I stand exhausted at the juncture between feeling sympathy and having pity. Oh, and how I pity."

"Let no man pull you so low as to make you hate him." ~ Booker T. Washington

So, to anyone who truly believes we are all destined to be forsaken, please take your despair elsewhere. There's enough real pain in the world already, for us to have to tolerate your insane and purely personal torment.

"Look, Lemme tell you this
I know you know someone who's got a negative vibe (Euhh)
And if you only help it will only keep it alive (Sh-yeah)
They really don't have nowhere to go
Ask 'em where they're going
They don't know"

~ Ain't No Stopping Us Now, McFadden & Whitehead


This morning, I was walking next to a woman who was apparently shivering. Admittedly, I noticed her because I was charmed by her cascading plush of fur cuffs and the blue-velvet cap she wore atop the tress of brown curls which I imagined whimsically wrapping around me.

We came to the corner of 8th and 42nd together, and she turned to me to ask, "Can I get into Port Authority over here?," gesturing southward with the nudge of her shoulder. It was now much more obvious that she was trying to keep warm, as she kept her arms pegged to her sides.

I smiled and answered affirmatively, adding, "Sure is cold, isn't it?"

She smiled back, as if my rhetoric was tepid empathy, and said, "Yes, brrrrr."

I capped the polite exchange with "Yeah, we'll appreciate the warmth more once were inside."

And then the light turned green, and circumstance tore us apart.

And albeit, we had shared a little suffering, I will probably only remember how pleasant it was.

the art of living the art of living the beginning the art of love the art of love

legal l.m