Image courtesy Where The Fairy Tale Begins
At the age of 45, writer Regina Brett wrote a column for the Cleveland Plain Dealer listing 45 lessons that life had taught her thus far. As a breast cancer survivor, many of those lessons were learned the hard way. Five years later she added five more lessons rounding her list up to 50 and turned her popular list into a book called God Never Blinks. I found her list to be entertaining, inspiring and thought provoking. I thought I would go through each of her lessons learned and write about how that lesson has or has not come up in my own life, now that I am over 40 and feel old enough to have finally learned something.
"All that truly matters in the end is that you loved."
~ LESSON #43
Is it better to have loved and lost or never to have loved at all? Hmmm. I have always felt that as heartbreaking as it is to lose, the joy before the loss does make it worthwhile. It would be safe to not feel pain, but it would be a very vacuous emotional world that way, with no highs either. It would be kind of like being a Jacksonville Jaguars fan. Stuck in mediocrity. No Super Bowl championships to celebrate. No Super Bowl losses to stew about. They have had a few blips of success on the radar but for the most part, they are middle of the road. What is there to love about that? Who loves them? Do they have a fan base to love back?
Then again, they are only 17 years old. Just a teenager. Teens don't know what love is. Not to say that they don't fall in love. Just to say that they don't know love from lust in the moment. So the Jaguars have time to be loved. They will grow and learn and have some luck along the way. They will have adoring fans and they will love those fans right back, when they have a rally or parade some day. And although it was nice and safe to just collect money and not suffer agonizing defeats by being mediocre, they will find that the euphoria of reaching the pinnacle, in hindsight, outweighs the pain of falling off the top into a deep, dark crevice.
At least that is what I keep telling myself this week. The road to the Super Bowl as a Patriots fan this season was joyful. Stressful, but joyful. Oh so happy, all those Sundays - and Saturdays - and Mondays - and Thursdays (does the NFL really need to have games every day of the week?) watching them pull out a victory and vanquish a rival. Loving the organization and feeling protective of them as they went out to the big game. And then watching them lose in jaw dropping fashion to the New York Giants who beat them so shockingly four years ago in practically the EXACT SAME WAY. Watching your favorite player drop the key catch. Feeling the glory days slipping away. The blinders coming off to expose your beloved team's flaws. Having that love tarnished and pummeled and punted right out of the stadium.
Ugh. It sucks to have loved and lost. But it is still better than never having loved at all. I'd rather the Patriots get there and lose the Super Bowl than turn into the Jaguars who never get there at all. But I'm glad I'm not a Bills fan. They went to the Super Bowl four straight years and lost every time. That's not love. That's desperation.