Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Love with a whole heart
My husband and I love to go to the movies. He calls it “going to the show.” To me, some movies must be seen on the big screen or something gets lost. Others, I feel, are simply more enjoyable when viewed with others.
Comedies are simply funnier when watched in a crowd — the laughter of others contagious. There have been countless movies that moved me beyond tears to gut wrenching sobs and there have been cinematically spectacular features that make me thankful to be alive in the era of today’s technological advances.
Movies have the power to inform and transform. I will go to see just about anything that is playing, but I especially love to see those nominated as the best in any given year.
I rarely see all the Academy Award nominees, but I do try to see as many of the best picture contenders as possible. This year, I managed to take in about two thirds of them.
For me, the most unexpectedly thoughtful turned out to be “Call Me By Your Name.” It was not one I felt really needed to be viewed on the big screen — I did not anticipate epic scenery (I was surprised at the cinematic splendor of Italy) or big laughs — and considered waiting for it to come out on DVD.
But I went to see it a couple of weeks ago to see what would make it academy worthy. I did not think it would win for best picture, but it did make an impact.
The story is one of a summer romance. Ultimately it is about first love and heart break.
Toward the end of the film, the relationship ends between a precocious 17-year-old living in Italy with his parents, and his father’s intern, a 20 something American, when the intern returns home. This is followed by a scene with the boy and the father.
The father sits with his son and says, in part, “How you live your life is your business, just remember, our hearts and our bodies are given to us only once. And before you know it, your heart is worn out, and, as for your body, there comes a point when no one looks at it, much less wants to come near it.
“Right now, there’s sorrow, pain. Don’t kill it and with it the joy you’ve felt … We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of 30 and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything — what a waste!”
That scene was so insightful and thoughtful that I was moved to tears. And I have not been able to stop thinking about it.
I could not help but wonder how amazing it would have been to have heard something like that from a parent when I went through my own first heart break. And I want to make sure my children hear it loud and clear. Don’t let the sorrow and pain of the end of a relationship stop you from loving again.
But how do you love with your whole heart when your heart has been broken?
Mending a broken heart
I clearly remember a Christmas when I was in my early 20s. I had recently ended a live-in relationship. It was the right decision, and it was my choice, but still my heart ached.
Not for the first time, I understood the term “broken heart.” I was not sure it would ever heal, and it took a long time for me to give love another chance.
When I did meet someone worth another try, I went in a bit more guarded and a long way from whole hearted. I didn’t want to hurt that way again. But I realized half way didn’t really work for anyone. Taking the risk was the only way to reap the reward. It was not my last failed relationship. I survived. My heart healed. I tried again.
My children are all adults now and part of the journey, for most of them, has included the inevitable heartbreak. Navigating first love and subsequent relationships is part of the ride — the highs and the lows. Being there for them but watching them go through those peaks and valleys is yet another difficult part of the parenting experience.
The message from the movie is a good one for anyone considering taking another leap into the world of relationship, and even for those who are currently in one but who may be holding back.
Is the pain and sorrow of a previously failed coupling keeping you from the joy that is possible when you allow true intimacy and vulnerability? Feeling nothing to save yourself from feeling anything — what a waste indeed.
Unlike in the world of cinema, all the answers will not be woven together in two hours or less. Love takes time, commitment and risk. Your heart deserves another shot. It is worth every bit of you.
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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