Photo by Jon Tyson / Unsplash

What happens when we redefine what Big Love really means?

As long as I'm in decent cell range of some kind of signal, we talk nearly daily.

My friend is gay, and I've known her long enough now to have witnessed her passage through a very difficult relationship, marriage and divorce. We share some personal history, the kind of deeply painful girl-child history that honestly, I really wish that no girl-child ever has to experience. But we do.

Vast numbers of us do, including boys, but this isn't that article.

Such experiences inform our self-image from an early age. Sometimes we never recover, feeling as though, in this patriarchal society, that the fact of being born female was our fault. Therefore what befell us thereafter was also our fault, as though the men involved were such delicate innocents, even as adults, that our womanly wiles as adolescents held such spells.

These adult men were helpless. Really now.

It is far worse for Black girl children, but I digress.

The idea of love itself gets twisted early on. Trying to find it, even define it after such trauma is, well, a journey.

Some of us bounce around, or are bounced around, for a lifetime; some more so, some less. Many of us, if we're old enough (and the two of us are) were suckled at the breast of the Disney princess story.  A girl  needed only to be pretty and sleep, and her prince (or whomever) would show up and all would be well forever.

Big Love. Walt's idea of it, anyway.

However Walt's ideas of older women, and my friend and I both are, is that those crones were evil, wrinkled hags.

How on earth would anyone enjoy Big Love if we were hags in the eyes of an ageist world?

Some time back my friend made the comment to me that she was, indeed, ready for Big Love. That comment preceded a relationship during which my friend experienced a heretofore un-experienced  physical awakening, which put her in touch with aspects of herself long dormant.

That was Big.

The relationship didn't last. The lesson did.

Her openness to experiencing Big Love led to another more lasting connection. Like all relationships it's not without bumps, bruises and battles.

We discuss all of these, regularly. And every so often we take a step back, as we did today, and put all of it in context.

"It's all Big Love, isn't it?" she said.

The bumps, bruises, the battles. All of it.


We sent each other into gales of laughter a while back when one of us (I don't recall which, probably her) said,

"And it doesn't need fixing."

After that, the phrase became both a regular laugh line and a meme. A necessary one, for when one of us would show up breathless with an irritated complaint,

It doesn't need fixing.

Big Love, we agreed this morning, is all about recognizing that no matter what our most recent complaint, somehow we are cared for. We daily see and read about people who are in terrible straits, in situations far worse. By comparison, and especially when I consider those I have met during my world travels, we are hardly in real trouble.

Uncomfortable at times, not happy with where the country is going, perhaps pissed off at someone's churlish children or a partner's daily woe-is-me pity party.

Big Love is being alive.

Big Love is being in the world.

Truly Big Love is learning to embrace all of it. Be grateful, deeply grateful for all of it.

None of it needs fixing.

Now, you might, with very good reason, point to book banning, racism, murder and mayhem. Of course you can. However for as long as there are humans, there will be such things.

You can point to DeSantis and Trump and all the rest, and you'd be right. Get rid of them and another crop will rise up.

None of it needs fixing.

Humans are always going to do what they do. The helplessness too many of us feel is driven often by way too much time online, that horrible feeling of overwhelm, and a lack of attention to all that is good around us.

Like everyone else I'm trying to find my way to some kind of peace in a world seemingly gone mad.

Each of us needs to find a way towards Big Love, which is precisely why there are wars, animal abuse, environmental damage, rape, you name it. To my mind, the lack of Big Love is precisely why we are where we are. None of it needs fixing, because each of us is on a path driven by the need to find that Big Love.

It's the path we need to take to get there. Some of us never make it. It's always been thus. Those who do embrace and allow Big Love for themselves make it vastly easier to make it available for others. As well as to understand the struggle others have to find it.

My friend. My troubled partner and his pity party, who, after fifteen long years finally leaves me messages saying, and meaning, I love you.

I resist that. A lot.

That observation sent both of us into gales of laughter again this morning,  because after fifteen long, hard, difficult years of chasing Big Love- such as I imagined it in my Disney-trained (I'm a cast member) overheated brain-now that it was being offered, I was back-pedaling.

Just the fact that we can see this and laugh is part of Big Love.

When we can put down the fantasy, fueled by Disney, and upheld by a patriarchy which wishes to hold all of us hostage to a certain kind of love, then Big Love shows up in all its kaleidoscopic glory. In fact, when we take the blinders off, well. It's like those people who are color blind, and whose friends buy them the glasses which allow them to see the world in all its real beauty.

Big Love is Life. It's Laughter and Loss and Sadness and Anger and Disappointment. It's learning how to deal with all of that and still be so grateful.

Big Love is having been born, and at some point, being returned to what I absolutely believe is a benevolent Universe happy to have us back.

Meanwhile, we're all here trying to find that Big Love.

Julia Hubbel (sorry, moving horse = moving camera)

This afternoon I found a bunch of it myself. I went horse riding in the redwoods in Northern California, then rubbed the horses' heads until their eyes closed in pleasure. Then I drove on Highway 199 back to my campground. Slowly. Because this:

Tall trees with beautiful sunlight halo in the forest
Photo by Ralph (Ravi) Kayden / Unsplash

You and I have always been surrounded by Big Love. Our inability or unwillingness to see it is what makes us sick.

Choosing to see it, all of it, and learning to stop demanding the world change itself to meet our expectations, is what makes us whole again.

Dedicated to Nalini, who knows a lot about Big Love.


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