I wake early with the spring light streaming and notifications dinging in.
My mind returns to the discussion from last night, “Can men and women be friends?”
When engaging with friends, this seems to be the topic that keeps surfacing and cautionary tales are told.
Alas, this is another article. This piece is about real romance, which has nothing to do with partnerships as it extends beyond them. Romance, true romance, is a state of being in which one falls in love with the moment.
Romance is falling in love with life and this includes the bittersweetness.
This, of course, is my own definition. Romance in this definition is something we experience both in and outside of romantic partnerships and friendships; “platonic” relationships may be the greatest opportunities for such experiences.
When we experience a romantic moment, time stands still. It is these moments that are frozen in time in my mind, and there is a soundtrack for each experience.
This is magic.
We can experience this by ourselves, with friends, and with lovers.
These romantic experiences transcend time.
Several years ago, I was a young mother raising a child solo and going to school living in a small old brick apartment. I did everything that I could do to live fully in the moment and be a part of my daughter’s education and learning. I volunteered as much as I could, and on a particular school excursion into the wild, I had a heart-touching experience with another volunteer, a “dad.” This, of course, had nothing to do with sex, dating, or relationships.
This romantic experience was a day I won’t forget, for it made me appreciate the place I was at, and I was allowed into the inner sanctum of my co-parent supervisor.
Recalling this event brings great sweetness and makes my heart swell. I am able to review it like a movie in detail reliving the experience.
It was a heady day in June and we boarded a school bus with 25 children for an adventure out to the wild, unchartered trails. We were two of four parent supervisors and we bonded while chaperoning and trekking some rocky terrain. He was a busy lawyer and married with two children. The entire day we spent side by side connecting, sharing, and enjoying the strangest nature trek. He was fascinated to learn more about my studies, my life, and we shared our parenting joys and fails. The day was pure bliss and the aches and pains I had from the strenuous trek melted.
At the end-of-the-day excursion, the older dad stood in front of my building and shared that he lived in that very building when he was a law student—”best days of my life,” he said and smiled fondly. At that moment, I realized that my life stage was indeed what others recalled as their “best days.” The old brick building that I lived in allowed a simple, uncomplicated life. This was something I took for granted up until that moment.
Oh, this was a beautiful end to a sweet day. The mixture of sunshine, laughter, sharing, and the joy of children with adult companionship set my heart on fire. I was reminded of the sweet simplicity and joys of life. I was reminded that there are “good people.”
Up to this moment, I felt self-conscious about where I lived and that I was young and a student raising a child amid affluent families.
Romantic experiences are enticing to the senses. They are moments that stand out. These experiences have a sense of nostalgia, longing, and sometimes melancholy. The melancholy is the bittersweetness of longing for what was or what could be. This is a longing for the sacred joys of life.
Dear friends, most romantic experiences have nothing to do with romance; they have to do with the sharing of the inner workings of our heart and soul.