Teddy Bears at HeartSometimes feelings are hard to figure out. People dance around whether or not they like someone, whether or not they want to be with someone, or whether there are just looking for a good time. Of course then you have to figure out what it means by “looking for a good time”. Romance novels fly off the shelves as people hope to find something a little bit different, that they may escape to another reality – but for a moment.

Sometimes I’ll sit watching a movie. It doesn’t have to be anything special. It doesn’t have to be a romantic picture. Not even a chick flick. It just has to be a film that has a message. Even if it’s one that’s so subtle most people will miss it.

Take that motion picture from the 1970’s: “The Last Starfighter.” Kind of a fun picture. The graphics weren’t all that great. Still, it was one of my favorites. Each of the pictures that strikes me most has a message that involves sacrifice. Placing your own needs, wants, and desires, after those of your family, friends, and even humanity. That happens in this particular movie. And it makes me wonder why there hasn’t been a remake. But something more happens; our star saves the world, and 100 more like it, and he returns to earth for a woman (almost a woman).

So we come back to the message that involves sacrificing all for true love. Most of us can’t even contemplate what “true love” really means. Oh, we’ve got a notion. We may have strong feelings. We may even think we got it mostly figured out. But, for a great majority of us out here, we wonder why we’re left alone when we just figured we got it right.

We don’t understand when a spouse or a girlfriend/boyfriend relationship ends. We wonder where the simplicity of romance has gone. Then there are the performance issues. Questions of what you supposed to do on a first date. A second date? And most are so focused on being in love, in a physical sense, they forget what it means to go a courting.

We forget how to write letters. Emails are easy. Typing a letter is even easier when we use an audio dictation system. But sometimes, what may be conveyed in a moment of emotional weakness, by simply writing a letter, shares a bit of one’s soul with that special someone. Sometimes, we even surprise ourselves by finding truisms that we never knew were a part of our internal belief system.

Teddy bears at heart

I was sitting on a plane some years ago heading back from Belgium. There were easily a dozen suited businessman sitting aside each other in the business-class section. The movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus” came on the large screen. This was before each individual seat had its own television screen. At a strategic point in the movie I looked up to see flight attendants moving through the aisles with Kleenex and hot towels. And as I looked around me, through my own tears, and hands trying to hide the witness of my face, I saw not a dry eye in the group. More than that, I saw appreciative smiles on the faces of these kind flight attendants.

Whether these men were corporate executives, working-class, or idle rich, their faces were touched by portrayals of situations on screen where one man made a difference in the lives of all those around him. And isn’t that what we are looking for? To make a difference. To leave a legacy behind that remains positive in every respect.

When confronted with the mortality of friends and loved ones, we look inward. Often times, we are relieved to know that death has not come directly to our own door. But when faced with the death of a spouse, our heart is torn asunder. Perhaps for the first time in our lives we understand what that phrase means: “our heart being torn asunder”.

We come back to choices

Watching old Westerns or films of yesteryear, there are countless times when we see a hero buck seemingly insurmountable odds. We see them overcome grand villains, inhuman monsters, conquering the highest peaks of the most rugged mountains. We yearn for simpler lives, even more rugged terrain. The loss of computers, telephones, and even clocks. Looking forward to a time when all that remains is the hunter gatherer protecting his family.

Take a moment to question yourself about how you came to be the person you are. Look at those around you. Remember what it was like to fall in love with your spouse. Remember the feelings that led you to a decision where you would say you would never separate. Never speak of divorce. Set a goal for that 50th anniversary, or maybe even to see a 100th anniversary.

Where are you today? Are you the person you thought she would be today? Is your beloved the person they were when you met? And are you as selfless as you were in those first days of dating when you tried so hard to be liked?

Do you spend your nights with your head buried in a novel, watching TV, or sitting in a bar drinking away your troubles?

To be truly alive

This post may seem melancholy, at first. But I’d like you look at a different way. I’d like you to resurrect the feelings you used to have for the people you spend less time with today. I’d like you to plan something. One thing that will let them know you love them, care about them, and above all appreciate them. It isn’t a lot, but, it just might not take a lot for all of you to remember what staying up all night talking meant. What studying together meant. What it meant going to the hospital together for your first child to be born.

And even if you’re not with that someone any more, you can remind yourself better than any romance novel, soppy movie, or thrill ride, what it’s like to truly be alive.

“Yukon Jack” ~ Screenplay By Kirk I Koskella

I’m about finished with “Yukon Jack”. I’m not sure how it’s going to end yet. But he’s given and always got. He hasn’t given up. And right now he’s lying between two boulders at the bottom of the ravine. He has concussion, hypothermia is setting in and wolves can be heard as night settles. Oh, yes. I forgot to tell you; there’s a 10 year old boy who was the only one who knows he’s missing. And he’s made it his job to find Yukon Jack.

And what about that nurse that I mentioned. If I had to guess, I’d say the relationship between she and Jack is a little like that between John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara in “The Quiet Man.”

Come the end of April, we’ll go ahead and publish on the net a couple of chapters from the second act of “Yukon Jack” for your reading pleasure. Don’t worry, I’ll give you little bit of history as we get into it. But right now, if you have been reading up on what Yukon Jack is all about, and the twists and turns of his life, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what happens next.

So keep warm. The last dregs of wood are almost here. And the ghosts of your past are about to be shown as either friend or foe.

Good hunting!


Image:  “Theodore Roosevelt as Rough Rider with Clifford Berryman’s bear.”  Library of Congress.