A man walking down a dark street at night comes across another man on his hands and knees in the gutter searching for something under a streetlight. “What are you looking for?” asks the man. “My car keys,” the second man replies. “Let me help,” the first man says as he gets down and starts to look. After a few minutes he asks, “Are you sure you dropped them here?” The other man replies, “Actually I dropped them half a block back.” “Then why are you looking here?” the man inquires. “Because this is where the light is,” is the answer.

Likewise, searching for love in the wrong place or hoping to evoke it in the wrong person seldom produces lasting happiness. Jumping off a dark cliff may feel like flying for a moment, but it can be risky if you cannot accurately anticipate a soft landing. This is where learning comes in. If you have a clear idea what character consists of and what qualities in other people you need to pay attention to, you are much less likely to make the catastrophic mistakes that now plague the institution of marriage. Life has no guarantees, but why we pay less attention to this body of knowledge than we do to learning algebra is a persistent mystery.

‘How To Love’, Gordon Livingston

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