Passive Echoes

Love and the Mystery of Attraction


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One of the great mysteries of life is what I casually refer to as the "Eros Process". To me, this is the sequence of chemical, circumstantial, time, and somewhat instinctive factors (not in any evolutionary sense) that draws and compels two hearts to yearn longingly and incessantly for each other. Individually we harbor unique innate perceptions of beauty and love that are partially influenced and manipulated by cultural and environmental phenomenon.

The rules or laws governing attraction are nonetheless an individual and distinctive insoluble anomaly. This factor defies conventional norms but formulates a basis for comprehending why opposites attract or why mere compatibility can often repel (e.g, why the good and reputable girl is drawn to the rebellious and delinquent boy or why despite laudable qualities, physical attractiveness, and immense effort we cannot germinate a romantic interest in an otherwise suitable admirer).

The reality is that we cannot command ourselves to fall in love with just anyone. It happens without forethought, sometimes with fireworks, sometimes very softly. The heart, not the mind makes the choice and when the mind attempts to interfere the heart often overrules. However, there are no fixed rules and many variables. In some cultures where marriage is prearranged the heart learns the eros process.

No doubt, in such instances romantic love comes softly through a different window opened by deeply embedded cultural, religious, or familial influences. One can be assured that noble gestures of consistent acts of mutual kindness, trust, devotion and perhaps physical attraction are also significant contributors.

The Bible Book, The Song of Solomon (Canticles) provides an account that highlights the power of genuine love. The beautiful Shulammite maiden is taken into captivity and rejects the rich and powerful King Solomon's romantic efforts to pursue her on four occasions. She becomes lovesick and longs for her poor shepherd boy.

On three occasions she commands the daughters of Jerusalem that they are under oath to cease pressuring her and "not to awaken love in her against her will." Solomon is persistent with his charm and wooing but releases her from his captivity because she is firm in her love for her shepherd lover despite the lavish lifestyle he would have given her.  

The song teaches us the beauty of virtue and innocence in a true lover. It also provides convincing proof that genuine love remains unconquerable, inextinguishable, and unpurchasable. Most importantly, we cannot compel our hearts to develop romantic love for just anyone.


The final chapter, 8, states of enduring and true love:

"Because love is as strong as death is, insistence on exclusive devotion, is as unyielding as the grave is. Its blazings are the blazings of a fire, the flame of Jah. Many waters themselves are not able to extinguish love, nor can rivers themselves wash it away." -The Song of Solomon 8:6,7.


Marcia and I differed in that I traversed through the habits of existence not caring about the impression that I gave to others nor about the relationships that I formed with members of the opposite sex. At a very early age I began dating girls without sincerity, for mere recreation. This pattern I continued until May of 1971 with only one exception, Marcia. Despite the differences in our beliefs, standards, and upbringing there was an indisputable and spontaneous mutual physical attraction and emotional bond.

Our unrehearsed, unforeseen, and chance meeting in 1968 completely changed my perspective. I discovered that I had a heart that was capable of an incredibly deep passion and love. This petite, wide-eyed, and beautiful entity that I encountered forever enslaved my heart within a span of two months.

Her sheer presence in my thoughts could steal my appetite, hinder my sleep, invade my dreams, and deprive me of the freedom to control my thinking faculties to concentrate on anything but her. Stevie Wonder's song, "All I Do", best describes how I felt during the latter weeks of that summer.

Amazingly, I went from meaningless relationships with girls to meeting one that has meant everything to me for nearly "49" years. Although it took her a little longer, I soon became her Prince Charming and knight in shining armor.

Our lives revolve around choices that we make and to a large extent so does our happiness and contentment. In 1968 my goal in life was to be a successful neurosurgeon and someday to ultimately marry and have two children, a son and a daughter. Marcia had similar aspirations of a successful career as a professional singer, perhaps performing at the Met and discovering the joys of matrimony with the man of her dreams.

When I stepped onto the grounds of A&T State University I inhaled the air of freedom from parental constraints and for eight weeks (the ninth week I was miserably under the spell of love) reveled in a carefree existence desiring only to have fun and enjoy learning about music and performing. Never in my wildest imaginings did I envision a scenario wherein life altering events would occur.

In my mind love was implausible, a ludicrous and far distant concept. I knew of love only in a familial setting. My relationships with girls were of no memorable consequence, a mosaic of insignificant chance meetings, dating, breakups, and a few isolated memories, mostly pleasant. Up to that time I could still recall each of their names. Later, beginning that summer, due to the sheer number and other circumstances it became an improbable undertaking.

However, I will never comprehend entirely nor forget what transpired on the first occasion that my eyes gazed upon and later transfixed into Marcia’s eyes. There was a surreal suspension of being as though time heaved a sigh and a momentary cessation in forward motion commenced; a pronounced stillness. After nearly a half of a century, I still feel that sensation during intimate moments that we stare deeply into each other’s eyes.

Marcia folds and tucks her hands under her head like children are often taught to do when they are praying. She is peaceful and serenely beautiful. I have observed her sleep this way since our college days at NCSA (UNCSA). Strangely, I have derived immense pleasure simply watching over her as she gracefully shifts positions ever so slightly, desiring only to protect and love her.

I have kept a journal since my father gave me one as a gift when I was fourteen, in 1967. As I gaze upon my love of more than 49 years, I reflect on one of it's most poignant entries. It was the day I realized that I loved this gentle and sweet petite girl of fourteen who folds her hands and sleeps. On the campus of A&T State University in July, 1968, I penned the words on the previous page: "Love Story" and "Preview", under the photo of Marcia at age fourteen. Days later I also composed the words in the brief note in the photograph below.

First letter to Marcia.


It was after becoming familiar with her for just nine weeks and attempting in vain to confess the extent of my affections. I was escorting her to her dorm after our first dance together when we stopped to talk. She interrupted my expressions of endearment just short of my saying that I was falling for her by stating: "Larry you don't really know me that well to feel so strongly."

Nevertheless, one evening after returning home to Ahoskie following the summer session at A&T she sat in bed reading the various entries in her autograph book along with her younger sister. Marcia discovered near the end of her autograph book, far away from the other entries so that no one but she could read it, a two page love letter from me. This was found by coincidence as she thoughtlessly flipped through numerous empty pages.

Reflecting back, Marcia recalled a day in the chorus room a few days before the end of the music camp that I was sitting high up and away from everyone writing something. This seemed out of character for me and unusual. At the time she did not realize that it was her autograph book which I had seized without her permission or knowledge from some other students. She was pleasantly surprised but now convinced that I truly cared about her. 

Marcia wrote concerning her discovery:

(Click to Enlarge)

In actuality, I have known of her since my conception, written in the passion code of my DNA and woven in the layers of my fifteen years of experiences and existence; a heart that could mesh with mine. Not a soul mate nor an imagined love at first sight, but the sum total of femininity that would ultimately steal my breath and heart with the softness of a whisper.

Perhaps hidden in the deepest recessses and at the core of the human genome is a key code-like medium that initiates an enzymatic trigger that unlocks the doorway to mutual attraction. Unknown to us and screened off from our mental consciousness. Subjective to, but working in collusion with our free will, the chemistry of love is manufactured and disseminated. Possibly to a special few, or preferably to just one, the " eros process" that creates the link of enduring love is then initiated with a pause in time when a pair of eyes meet, lips speak, or hands entwine.

Marcia was always perplexed as to how I could develop such strong feelings, such love for her before we even shared an embrace, and at such a young age. I had only held and kissed her hand at A&T. I concur, it was unusual. I never intended for such a thing to happen, and I had no answer to her question. To quote Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “It is difficult to know at what moment love begins; it is less difficult to know that it has begun.” 

I never permitted myself to entertain inappropriate thoughts or fantasize about her in any improper manner, nearly unheard of among typical 15 year-old boys. What I felt for her was a very deep, genuine, chaste, and honorable affection and for me it was unthinkable to cheapen it by entertaining such thoughts of her. At 15 the only fantasizing that I engaged in about Marcia always involved honorable marriage and a lifelong commitment at some point in the future.


Little did Marcia know that her genteel presence, the tenderness of her smile, the passion in her eyes, and the pleasantness of her voice had totally, completely, and yes, perfectly bewitched me. The process had begun. My heart was forever hers. Despite being so young in years I had discovered what many search a lifetime for in their dreams, fantasies, and oft' in fragile realities, a love for now and forever. The words from my journal above like the words in the note in the photograph were composed after that night.

To comprehend this depth of love I will quote from a more recent source, the movie "Meet Joe Black" wherein such true, unadulterated, and endless love is described  by Anthony Hopkins (Father) to his daughter (Claire Forlan) in this manner:

"I want you to get swept away, sing with rapture, and dance like a dervish. Love is passion, obsession, someone you can't live without. I say fall head over heels, find someone you can love like crazy and who'll love you the same way back. How do you find him? Well, you forget your head and you listen to your heart. Because, the truth is there is no sense living your life without this. To make the journey and not fall deeply in love - well, you haven't lived a life at all..."or experienced true love in a romantic sense.


This does not mean that everyone needs to experience the "eros process" to be genuinely happy. There are many faithful Christians who have resolved in their hearts to remain single in order to serve God in many capacities without the distraction and anxieties associated with marriage and child rearing. Such individuals enjoy peace of mind and exceptional joy and fulfillment in their single state. I know of many such individuals. -1 Corinthians 7:32-35

However, for those who permit their hearts to yield to romantic love and fall short in experiencing the "eros process" and applying the principles in the Bible governing marriage, their happiness will be grossly diminshed or it is unlikely that it is true love at all. 

Furthermore, unless one has actually experienced such intense and true love, the idea of "one flesh" will be as incomprehensible as discerning God's infinite existence, a concept of time necessitating one to “think of millenniums multiplied by eons compounded by time without end” then to “multiply it by infinity, and taking it to the depth of forever...” A truly impossible concept for the unbeliever and skeptics! In other words, romantic love to the extent of being "one flesh" has to be experienced and believed in to be truly understood in all of its facets.

This account will explore and reflect on the joys, aspirations, sorrows, and struggles that tend to be inseparably linked with any true and enduring love. Our "Love Story" that is chronicled and revealed through this website is based on my personal journal, our conversations, many shared experiences, and countless letters exchanged between Marcia and I.

This legacy of enduring love we bequeath to our progeny.  -Larry Brian Binns 

 


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