So there I was, trapped in a chair at the dentist office listening to “Keep On Lovin’ You” by REO Speedwagon and I got to thinking.
First: about the odd timelessness of adult contemporary/soft rock radio stations, and how I could swear I have been sitting in dentists offices for 20 years, listening to the same “Keep on Lovin’ You” and “Rosanna” since I was a kid, and how it has always seemed like music from the past, but the same past, and how they only seem to have added one or two songs to their rotation in all those years. And I found myself wondering what the protocol is, what the specifica standards are for adding, say “Everything I do, I do it for You” but not another softer classic, or something Ambient like Air or Bjork.
But that isn’t the main thing I was thinking about. As I was sitting there, letting the sweet sweet sound of Kevin Cronins take me away from all the pain and suffering of an overachieving dental hygenist, I started to listen to the lyrics. And I found myself thinking about that notion. “I’m gonna keep on lovin’ you, because it’s the only thing I wanna do.
And, well, first of all, it’s a little sick. I mean, really, you don’t want to sleep, you just wanna keep on lovin her? Goodluck with that.
But more I found myself contemplating the decision to just keep on loving someone, even if things are bad, even if things are confusing, even if things are over. Because there is certainly a tone to that song of joyful resignation to the full fledged experience of being in love with someone, forever, even if the path didn’t keep them together.
And I was reminded of a friend of mine who once said “I am in love with every person I ever loved still” with a certain pride, and at the time I thought this was a little crazy. Or sad. Or perhaps a question of semantics.
It seems to me people fall in and out of love. Often involuntarily. And it also strikes me that this might get to be the only way we truly get to fall in and out of love: involuntarily, by instinct and not thought.
And then I was thinking about all these people I know who are dealing with breakups right now, and how they remind me of my past breakups, and how, during the anger and frustration and pain and missing we try to fall out of love. We expect to fall out of love. We anticipate it, hope for it, and how hard it is and how sad the very experience of losing love is voluntarily or not.
And I found myself wondering if REO speedwagon wasn’t onto something there. If maybe the way to go is to hold onto loving someone until your body wont let you love them anymore. Until you fall out of that pit and straight into another deep abyss of affection. Maybe you can’ climb out, maybe you just need to lay back and wait for the ground to give way.
Because yes, it is hard to love something and not have it near. But I wonder if the wrenching feeling of trying to end love before it’s time is that much more painful, and if maybe there isn’t something to be said for proudly and joyfully enjoying your love for another, even if you can’t be with them, even if it means suffering the absence of their loving you back.
Because so much of us is born and grown in love for another, and we can’t kill that love without slowly killing a small part of ourselves, our hearts, our hopes. So maybe we hold on just a bit longer than is easy, and enjoy that there is love to be had, even in inconvenient forms, and there will be more love to have again.