I am still glad I finally got up the nerve to follow my heart instead of what I was told should be the "smart" thing to do.
You may think that heart over head would be pretty darn difficult for somebody as logical and steel-trap-minded as I used to be. Well, you would think that if you had known me back then.
But this is True Love we're talking about here. Do you think this happens every day?
I was in a second floor room at Berkeley High School one Saturday in the spring of 1979, taking the Graduate Records Exam. In case, you know, I wanted more school after the baccalaureate. Dust slowly swirled in slanting beams of sunlight through the unshaded upper panes of windows ten feet high (it is a very old building). It was the logical reasoning or verbal acuity or mental ass-headedness section of the test, if I recall correctly, and suddenly -- I didn't care any more. About the test. About the future. About my great potential. I knew with great clarity that I gave neither a rat nor any portion of a rat's anatomy. So I threw it all away for love.
There was also the final experiment of the spiritual retreat at the Trappist monastery in Vina, California in June of 1979. "What do you want of me, Lord? Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening!" Imagine my surprise when an audible (to me) answer came back. MARRY HER. "Um, bad connection here, Lord -- it sounded like you said that I should marry..." GO BACK AND MARRY HER!
So that's what I did.
Came face to face with the fact that I don't have an ambitious bone in my body, and accepted that (I guess?). Heard the voice from the top of the mountain -- which in my case was an apricot orchard in the upper Sacramento Valley -- and did what He said. Disappointed one set of parents (mine) and thrilled another (hers) -- I think. Mine got over it. Don't know about hers. It was all a long time ago. But it was True Love. The dumbest stuff seemed like the hardest stuff at the time. Like, telling my parents. They hadn't heard the voice, after all. Seems strange now that more than a third of a century has passed, to be thinking about it. It was all a long time ago. But! It. Was. True. Love.
And it still is. (Cue birds and flowers!)
Funny thing about The Princess Bride -- Westley tells Buttercup about two things. One is True Love: "Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while;" and, "This is true love – you think this happens every day?" The other is about life in general: "Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something." So far, I think Westley was right on both counts.
There is pain. But the True Love part changes the Pain part. I have the pain of aging, the pain of Dealing With The Details of Daily Life (often, as amplified by multiple layers of Government Intrusion), the pain of not being able to do much about the pain suffered by those I love. But at least it's not the pain of remorse, the pain of having your dreams haunted by The Ancient Booer: "Because you had love in your hands, and you gave it up!"
"So bow down to her if you want, bow to her. Bow to the Queen of Slime, the Queen of Filth, the Queen of Putrescence. Boo. Boo. Rubbish. Filth. Slime. Muck. Boo. Boo. Boo!"