I was a teenager sitting in the passenger seat of my mother’s car when a song that I’ll always remember came on the radio. The song was called “It’s Sad To Belong” by England Dan and John Ford Coley.
I had never really listened to the lyrics but on that occasion my mother was listening intently.
The song describes the tragedy of belonging to someone else, when the “right one” comes along.
When the song ended my mother turned to me, stared just long enough to get my full attention and in a poignant tone simply said, “This is a very sad song.”
As most teenagers would, I acknowledged that yes, it seemed to be a little sad and shifted my mind back to my own random thoughts.
She turned away and continued driving with a now moist and distant look in her eyes.
It was only a few years later that my parents divorced and I realized my mother had been thinking of her own unfortunate situation and the impact now playing out in her life.
Perhaps she had married the wrong man and was now dealing with the repercussions of marrying too young, or without enough information or self-awareness, or maybe it was life simply doing what it does sometimes. Whatever the reasons, the song had served to punctuate the regrettable place in her marriage at that time.
Now when I hear the song I’m immediately taken back to that moment in the car. I imagine myself driving with a son or a daughter and I try to empathize with what my mother must have been going through.
It doesn’t feel good.
We fall into love for so many reasons. Sometimes the draw can be out of our own wounds or insecurities but hopefully more often the attraction is for healthy reasons and is aligned with our true needs and romantic desires.
To find ourselves in a relationship that was wrought for the wrong reasons and has now become an empty and regretful place is, of course, a painful tragedy.
So perhaps part of the lesson in this story is to consider our approach to new love.
It’s imperative to mindfully take love seriously whenever it appears in our lives.
First, we must genuinely make the effort to understand if this new person is truly compatible for us and our personal needs and desires.
Will they love us the way we need to be loved? Can we love them the way we need to love another?
Once confirmed, we must invest ourselves completely by making the effort that is necessary to hold onto a love that may only come our way once in a lifetime.