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A Probability of Words Text Thomas Lloyd Qualls

Love .

I mean that not as a noun, not even as a verb, but as a command. Or, more poignantly, as a simple instruction for life. As a game plan with only one play. A game plan that should be tattooed, not taped, to your wrist.

L ov e i s s i m pl e . We confuse and distract ourselves with hundreds of strategies for happiness, for success, for control, for security, for life. When the answer is simple. Albeit, counter-intuitive. In our defense, this is probably because, while this one-worddirective may seem simple, somehow it is not. The reasons why are probably fodder for at least twelve months of essays, all by themselves. But I think it is mostly because we are fearful beings. No matter what we say or how we act. L ov e i s da ng e ro us . No matter the bravado. No matter the hours at the gym, the tattoos, the sexy clothes, the cadre of friends, the cool job, or the hipness of our hangouts. No matter the number of times we read these words, study them in books, pay teachers to tell us, repeat them in mantras, stack the pillows, clear our minds, burn the right incense. No matter our friend counts, the notches on the bedpost or the numbers in the bank. No matter our previous revelations. L ov e r e m e m b e rs . We forget. We lose faith. We doubt. We disbelieve. We call past successes flukes and focus only on failure. We begin again our strategies for survival. Yes, survival. We decide that all else is fool-hearted frivolity. That we need to spend less time watching the stars and more time watching our backs. 8 Reno Tahoe Tonight

We fall back into fear. Because fear is easy. Fear comforts us as it tell us lies. Fear gets our back, it says. Protects our hearts, it assures. Leads us not into temptation. Not to cliffs and falls. Fear teaches us lessons in letting ourselves be too free. Lest we forget again. Lest we let our hearts hold the reins again. Lest we lose our way. Again. L ov e k n ows t h e t r ut h . And the truth is not easy. The truth is not simple. Not courteous or kind. The truth is blinding in its beatitudes. Ruthless in its revelations. And above all, breathtaking in its beauty. And beauty, well, you know what that is. L ov e i s b e a ut y . In all its shapes and sizes. In all its gifts and grandeur. In its bliss and its barely believableness. In its understatement and its overwhelm. In its cruelty and its crystalline clarity. In its ability to break your heart and to save your life. With one swift stroke. Yes, it is true. The answer is simple. It is taking our own advice that is hard. Even as I write this, I must remind myself that it is true. Because I’m no different from you. And you’re no different from her or him. Which leads us back to the reason there is only one rule. L ov e i s ev e ry w h e r e . Yes, I mean literally everywhere. As in not figuratively. As in you need only reach out and your fingers will touch it. As in take a step forward and you can’t help but bump into it.

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