February 11, 2021
This is the beginning of a new story.
Jessica sat quietly, hands folded in her lap; the words of Doctor Thomas still ringing in her ears.
“So, Doctor Thomas when you say, ‘less than a year’ you mean eleven months and thirty days, right?”
Doctor Thomas, a kindhearted compassionate man nearing retirement, sensed in Jessica a certain strength which demanded not only his complete integrity, but also his honesty. He removed his spectacles, pinched the bridge of his nose and then leaning back in his chair so as to better take in the whole picture, replied sincerely, “Jessica, none of us knows for certain what the future holds or the day on which we are called home. As your physician I recommend you make the best of this time and get your affairs in order.”
“Oh Doctor Thomas forgive me, but when you say ‘affairs’ I think ‘love’ and I’m not even sure I know what ‘love’ means!” Wiping back a tear Jessica ventured to ask, “Doctor Thomas, as my physician, in your view, do you think there is a difference between ‘making love’ and ‘having sex’? I mean, let’s be honest, without sex, none of this would exist and you and I wouldn’t be here having this conversation right now: so no disrespect. But I wonder, because I’ve spent—or maybe ‘wasted’ is a better word—my whole life searching for love, when I think it’s only sex I’ve ever found…and if this is to be the last year of my life, then I sure would like to discover what it means to ‘make love’.”
What thoughts must have gone though the good Doctor’s mind; but he listened intently, having had the same question over the years, intuitively knowing that all people want to be loved, but many are confused how to ‘make love’ and instead just settle for ‘having sex.’
“Yes. In my view I do think there is a difference, Jessica. ‘Making love’ is a conscious choice,” and then after thoughtful pause, “one we make with ourselves first; then eventually with the whole world.”
“You mean, like when Jesus said to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’?”
“Yes. Making love begins with an attitude; how deeply we care for and respect ourselves—“
“—and how deeply we care for and respect others.” Added Jessica.
“Ultimately the whole world.” Doctor Thomas then asked, “ Jessica, now that you’ve opened up the conversation, let me ask: what do you think about society’s view of sex today—especially in light of all we’ve seen in recent years with the MeToo movement?”
“Well I wonder if, as a society, we haven’t lost sight of…” Jessica paused for a moment to carefully consider her words,”…if we’ve ever learned how to truly respect and care for ourselves. As you say, ‘making love is a conscious choice’ but that implies responsibility and well, to be honest—sex happens!”
She shook her head and laughed back another tear, “but I think what you are saying, Doctor Thomas is: before you can make love with another, you have to first be able to love yourself and that means accepting all of you—good and bad parts equally so you can also accept another, but this takes courage and vulnerability and a desire to be with another– exposing your own authentic naked self and surrendering together to something bigger than both of you because well, love is a powerful source and—” her voice trailed off and then with a deep breath, “no wonder as a society we settle instead for just ‘having sex’: it’s easier.”
“But with a higher price to pay in the end.” Responded Doctor Thomas.
“What do you mean?”
“Consider children born to parents who make love—“
“–versus those who just have sex?” Jessica interjected, “I think I’m beginning to understand the difference now.”
“Good! Make the best of this time, Jessica. Don’t hesitate to call if…”
As Jessica turned to leave the doctor’s office, her hand on the front door, the words of Doctor Thomas still ringing in her ears; “making love is a conscious choice” she paused for a moment and said quietly to herself, “Well Jess this is it, the first day of the rest of your life. How are you going to live it?”
To be continued…
Thank you for reading. Your comments are always welcome and appreciated.