Music embeds itself in my brain like a memory, gives substance to moments passed, creates sound that tantalize all the senses. Sometimes on a mindless drive home late at night, a song triggers thoughts so vivid I can smell the rain infused Texas air before a summer storm, or taste salty cheese pizzas consumed in the middle of the night during study groups.
My playlist sometimes taunts me, it is an audible journal.
A recent writing prompt asked, “Do you believe in one true love?” Lately my mind has hovered over notes of loves in my life. It seems like it is some sort of taboo to admit that there may have been a great first love in our lives, that somehow the acknowledgement of that negates the relationship you are currently committed. But I don’t think it is about loving one person more than another. First loves are unique. They are kisses untarnished by another touch, a love that has not yet known heartbreak or disappointment. There have been no compromises yet, only promise. I realize now that our first love is really the easiest – it’s like having child-like faith, you do not question it, you only accept it for what you know in the moment. It is as exciting and full of passion as it is a mystery. You believe it is invincible. We think first loves will last forever.
Maybe they do – maybe we hold on to them more than all the rest because we realize the innocence lost. With each new relationship in our lives we are a little more hardened, a little more tarnished, have preconceived expectations based on past hurts and mistakes. We can’t help but compare the present to what we left behind, wonder how long this will really last. Our child-like faith starts to unravel and we realize it is harder than we imagined to continue to be completely transparent over and over again. The fear of heartbreak is always in our mind.
Until perhaps, our last love. The love we commit to – through sickness or health. Perhaps that is the greatest love we can experience. Afterall, it is a love forged together in spite of past grievances, brokeness and disappointment. We still have not forgotten moments spent with others, and yet we choose this one person over all the rest. Our last love is the hardest – it bears the weight of all the relationships we’ve carried with us over the years – but it is the most gratifying because it is based on a choice, rather than just an emotion. It is based on what we know, and not what we think we know. A person who has the patience to unpack years of baggage with you, replace it with hope and a future can not be compared to another.
First loves and all the loves in between are necessary to reach “the one”. They are necessary to appreciate how much work and dedication it takes to keep a marriage strong. They are not wasted emotions – just stepping stones to where you want to be at the end of the journey.