When You’re a Young Man…

you want to love and be loved but to find someone to teach you how requires wading through a world of rock stars, pornographers, and people as clueless as yourself. Under their twisted supervision earnest seekers become victims and then victimizers as everyone is doing what the movies, songs, and buddies tell them they’re supposed to but no one is really happy and more than a few are broken in the process. The only escape seems to be more of the same, the illusion that the next one will be the real one yet it never seems to be ever happen that way.

If I could speak back through time to my younger self I would tell that person the hunger to be loved, to be touched, to encounter another, is perfectly real and good. Still, great care has to be taken with that fire so that it warms without consuming everything in its path.

I would say do things in the reverse of what the rock stars, pornographers, and clueless tell you. Seek out the spirit of the other, their goodness, all the qualities that attract you to them. Seek that first and let the physical, no matter how demanding it may be, rest, for later, for better. Any two can, in any moment, produce an ecstasy but there is so much more to love than that and becoming the soul mates you want, you need, takes time, takes genuine engagement with the other, and a willingness to build a life, and not just a moment, together.

I would also say “Look for the beauty of the soul” because the time of smooth skin and youthful vigor is very short indeed while a good heart lasts well beyond those days. If all that matters is physical charm your days of “love” will be very brief. Aim, instead, for everything that matters, everything that lasts.

Finally, find the “sweet spot” and let your teachers in all of this be somewhere in between those who are obsessed with exploring and engaging every possible passion and pleasure and those who see love and sex as necessary evils. A wise person is somewhere between a prude and a pervert, someone who understands the great gift of love, of sex, but also sees a much larger picture, the goodness of it all and, indeed, the holiness that is possible. If your teachers are those who truly seek out the Creator, the God who created us to love and touch and be sexual they will often naturally be in that “sweet spot” and their knowledge can save your heart, your soul, and your life if you are willing to accept it.

This, I would say to my younger self, will help you find not just what you want but what you need.

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