There is in this country (and probably elsewhere, but VERY predominant in the US), a certain arrogance that we shall call “I earned it.” One of the most common phrases you will hear, particularly from working and middle-class people, regardless of ethnicity (but ESPECIALLY white folks), is “everything of value that I have, I earned.”

No, you didn’t.

The opportunity you got for that great job?  You didn’t earn that. And don’t tell me about all the preparation you did, all the study, all the schooling, etc. How many other people applied for that job?  People equally qualified as you? Yet somehow, you clicked with the interviewers, with the HR department; there was SOMETHING about you that made them consider you “a good fit” for their team (and I am well aware of traditional white male advantage, but that is a whole ‘nother topic – not germane for today’s).

That, my dear friends and neighbors, is good fortune. Or, as my grandma called it, Grace. “Grace,” as I recall from Catechism class, is defined as “an undeserved gift from God.” Conversely, for the atheists and agnostics among us, you can call it Good Fortune, or Luck. Whatever you call it, it amounts to the same thing.

But the fact is, you didn’t earn that “good fit.”  What you DO earn, is keeping that good job.  And you earn that on a daily basis. And it is good fortune, or Grace, that something catastrophic doesn’t happen and you lose that good job, whether through your or someone else’s action or inaction, or an accident, or act of nature – even through no fault of your own, it is ALWAYS a possibility that bad things can happen. There are innumerable other “earned” delusions out there, but our jobs are one of the biggest, so we’ll just leave that water right there on the bridge where Jesus flang it.

But seriously, kids? There is the one, and ONLY one thing of true lasting value in this world – and that one thing, you cannot earn.

That one thing is true love. You don’t earn your wife, your husband, your partner, your SO; whatever you call them, if you are so blessed, they are your soulmate. That is good fortune, or luck, or the grace of God, whichever you want to call it. But as sure as the sun rises in the East, you didn’t earn it.

What you ARE earning, though, is keeping that person’s love. And make no mistake, brethren and sistren, you are doing so on a daily basis, or you are eventually going to lose it.

So, if you are lucky enough, or Graced, with the love of that special someone, FFS be grateful, every minute of every day – and show them just how grateful you are for having them as your partner. Each and every day. I don’t care how tired you are, I don’t care how bad a day you had, when you come home to them, or they come home to you, or you both get home from work, you pick your ass up and smile and say “I love you, how was your day?” And then, for crying out loud, LISTEN.  Truly listen to each other, understand each other as well as you can, CONNECT.

And by the way, if what you were relying on for understanding is talking, you are not going to do that well, to be perfectly honest, because there is no human language that can truly express “Love.” Spoken words are the starting point, but are nowhere near as effective as a smile, a kiss, a touch, a cuddle, a shoulder on which to lean.

Be present.

The truest expression of love is being there – being present in the moment, in the now. Not to be thinking of what you’re going to say next, but listening to your lover, completely and exclusively. There will be plenty of time to say what you want to say after you LISTEN – and if you truly listen, it will almost invariably have an effect on what you will say.

If you have the great good fortune to love, and be loved, don’t you fucking DARE waste it.  Not one minute, not one second of it. Because just as I, and all the others widowed much too soon all too painfully know, you never know when your soulmate will be gone, never to return. Life is much too short to deprive ourselves of sharing and expressing our love for each other.

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, Love leaves a memory no one can steal.” From a headstone in Ireland



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