The Matchbook Diaries

Thursday Afternoon January 4, 2024 Shanghai Thoughts on Love

Sandwiched between the viewing deluge of Christmas films we watched over our holiday was the entire John Wick series, which stood in stark contrast to the mood and content of the films we were watching.  I wanted to see the John Wick sets which are indeed absolutely gorgeous in the way I love most – scuffed, shabby, hidden, old, and rich and dense as well.

What occurred to me, triggered (ha ha) by that film, and as I was reflecting on other things, is how love upends everything.  Love, not reason, overrides logic, fear, and even legitimate considerations.

When we were living in Qatar the ISIS crisis was occurring in the Middle East.  As a Jewish woman I was pretty frightened by the press which I started reading too much of in the New York Times.  My driver in Qatar is a very religious Muslim man who supports his family very, very well making his living as a chauffer in Qatar.  We spoke at length about the ISIS thing and he wound up saying, “Aimee, most of us really only have time to feed our families.  Only the rich have time and energy for war.”  I learn a LOT from my drivers wherever we live.

Then, over one of our Qatari vacations we traveled to the neighboring country of Jordan for a holiday.  We drove practically to the border of Iraq on that trip as we criss-crossed Jordan to see all the magnificent old churches and of course Petra.  The city of Aman was full of refugees then, and it was freezing cold, with snow on the ground, and people were digging food out of the hotel dumpster where we stayed to feed their children.  We drove past massive refugee camps with gigantic tents.  We met so many Jordanians who had so many opinions, but one thing they all felt certain about was that the refugees deserved a haven, despite the massive burden it caused the tiny, beleaguered country.

I stopped reading the New York Times, or any news, during that holiday, and I never started again.

Now there is terrible unrest again, and of course there has been many times in between.  Love, though – it makes crazy choices, it makes things that might otherwise seem insane make sense.  We all will do whatever we have to to feed our children.  I wish there were more love in the world so that there was less incomprehensible pain.  Because when my heart and mind are in chaos and I am suffering, the moment I am exposed to real love from my husband, my son, or my best friends, everything settles right into place and I know what to do and who I am because I am surrounded by love.