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How much love can one heart hold?

September 6, 2009

Thirty-five years ago today I met the father of my children.

We met at UMass/Boston. A friend of mine had taken me up to the pool hall on campus, and when I walked in, Bob is the one who greeted me. He left the game he was playing with his friends to play a game of 8-ball with me. I don’t know when my friend left. From the moment Bob and I met, our attention for each other never waivered. We spent the afternoon together shooting pool, and going to the campus bookstore, where I discovered he was in my English class. We talked about yoga and astrology and aspects of spirituality. And then we went back to his family’s house in Quincy for a bit. While there, he played some music – I remember he played My Favorite Things by John Coltrane, and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight by James Taylor. He gave me some chocolate pudding and a book on how to meditate. Then he drove me home to Stoughton. My mom invited him in for dinner. She had made stuffed cabbage. After we ate, we played frisbee and soon after, he went home. The next morning, I wrote in my journal that I met the man I am going to marry. How could I have known???

I still love the man.

For various reasons, we decided to separate in January 1990, and we finally divorced in May 1991, after a 14 year marriage. We still loved each other, but recognized that our lives were going in different directions.

Since then, I have fallen in love a few times with people who have transformed my life in major ways, and I have loved many others. After several relationships spanning over a decade, as well as times alone, I have been with my current partner for almost five years. I love my current partner very much, and I know I am loved in return. However, I have not stopped loving any of my former loves. In fact, when I truly love someone, I never stop loving them, no matter what.

This morning, I was remembering a definition of love that I heard many years ago. Paraphrased, Pia Mellody said that true love is feeling unconditional positive regard for someone despite their shortcomings. That’s exactly how I feel about my past and present loves. I feel a total acceptance of who they are, and I feel happy for their happiness.

And it’s not limited to lovers. I love so very many friends, and folks I met over the years, not to mention my family, especially my sons.

I have these little spaces in my heart reserved for this one or that one – my favorite memories of our times together and of my love for them. Some of those spaces are bigger than others, to be sure, but that shows how much I value that particular love, or maybe how much value I got from that person. I was realizing that there is no end to all of the spaces. I never run out of room at all. It’s infinite.

How much love can one heart hold?

I believe the answer is always….. more.

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