I’m wondering this evening about a scene in Adaptation. It’s near the end of the movie. Charlie and Donald are lying in a swamp, hiding from their would be killers.
Charlie: There was this time in high school. I was watching you out the library window. You were talking to Sarah Marsh.
Donald: Oh, God. I was so in love with her.
Charlie: I know. And you were flirting with her. And she was really sweet to you.
Donald: I remember that.
Charlie: Then, when you walked away, she started making fun of you with Kim Canetti. It was like they were making fun of “me”. You didn’t know at all. You seemed so happy.
Donald: I knew. I heard them.
Charlie: How come you looked so happy?
Donald: I loved Sarah, Charles. It was mine, that love. I owned it. Even Sarah didn’t have the right to take it away. I can love whoever I want.
Charlie: She thought you were pathetic.
Donald: That was her business, not mine. You are what you love, not what loves you. That’s what I decided a long time ago.
While I agree we are what we love, I’m wondering if it’s possible to sustain love without a returned response. Perhaps it is, (I’m thinking of some long-suffering parents and sons and daughters here) but I’m not sure if I ever want to find out.
What I do know is that if we’ve never known being loved we are incapable of loving. We learn love only by being loved. And our love of someone increases that persons capacity to love. And to love Love itself, like Donald, is, well, divinely humanizing. Amazing when you think of it.
(Above: Yes…my daughter and granddaughter on a Saskatchewan round bale)