Just To Love And Be Loved In Return

February 14, 2023, Valentine’s day.
As both, a strange and enchanted boy and a life-long, career photographer and trained portraitist, I have admired, through my lens, from afar and close-up, literally thousands of unique and beautiful women and men alike. Oh my.

I can’t even begin to tell you how bewitching this has been and continues to be to my psyche and sense of creative and emotional well-being.

As I get older, and hopefully wiser, that beauty-slider changes in the right direction.

When I was younger, I was drawn more to outward attractiveness.

As experience and scars made me more sagacious, the mysterious inward side of life seems to steal my heart these days.

In life itself, I’m about as liberal and left as you can travel on the continuum, but, when it comes to love and romance, I’m actually very traditional, monogamous, slow, and even awkward.

A little shy and sad of the eye, you might say.

Every year, around this time, Cupid, the ancient Roman god of love, shows up at my doorstep, with a quiver of arrows.

In a way, I like this time of year. It reminds me, humbly, what I think I was good at, and, at the same time, painfully, what I know I was not so good at.

For the memory and experience of true love, both cripples and caresses, often during the exact same moments in time and space.

Ouch, those mischievous, matchmaking arrows from this winged messenger and Son of Mercury, both surprise and sting.
If you are in romantic love with another, you are most fortunate and blessed.

Because when it comes to honest, authentic, heart-pounding human relationships and emotions, the greatest of these is love.

There is nothing, and I mean nothing in life, that is, ultimately, more important than to love and be loved in return.

It’s weird how, many of us, don’t ever seem to settle for houses, vacations, clothes, cars, travel, bling, savings, a career, education, or a business…. Still, we seem, sadly and unfortunately, all too quickly and awkwardly, to settle for love and romance.

What is that about?

I think relationships, on the surface, attract us but, deep down, they scare the hell out of us too.

I’m not sure but I think this compromising settling has something to do with our fear and anxiety of being alone.
Few of us like being alone.

On a philosophical note, and I know that this may surprise many of you but, my gut tells me, it is time to reconstruct the whole notion of love, romance, marriage, and relationships.

It’s time to redefine, everything, when it comes to love, outside the predictable and often high-opinioned, religious conservations and conventions of ecclesiastical dogma, doctrines, and decrees.

Personally, and I’m sure I’m a minority, I like the modern idea of two (or more) people, agreeing to annual, renewable covenants with each other. Done. Next.

Back to love, before I lose you.

As you get older, inevitably and, to many, sadly, your love-partner choices decrease.

But perhaps for many, like myself, who have lovingly enjoyed two different long-term marriages, it’s time to simply enjoy myself, love myself, be me, honor myself, and develop myself.

What about you?

Maybe it’s time to move love from the secrecy of shadowed steeples to the sensibility, sensitivity, and sensuality of living rooms and bedrooms.

Alone but not lonely.

We all, fools and kings, have an infinite capacity to love and be loved.

Many of us, and I might even say, the majority of us, are pretty decent at loving others, but not so decent at being loved.

We know how to give love but struggle with being loved, in equal measure.

I’m absolutely convinced that how we love others in life, is crazy proportional to how, as children, we were loved by our parents, caretakers, neighbor, friends, teachers, cousins, and everyone around us.

Our very formations and formulations about love came through our human experience, growing up, in our schools, neighborhoods, communities, backyards, and athletic fields.

I love you. I do. I want to get better at it. Forgive me when I fall short of my own ideas and ideals of love. You deserve more than, quite often, I am able to give.

We only see through a glass, darkly…

Happy Valentine’s Day.


Nature BoyNat King Cole

There was a boy
A very strange enchanted boy
They say he wandered very far, very far
Over land and sea
A little shy and sad of eye
But very wise was he

And then one day
A magic day he passed my way
And while we spoke of many things
Fools and kings
This he said to me
“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return”

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return”

Jack Hollingsworth