Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson
Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson
Love Doesn't Have To Be Received, It Can Just Be | 6.9.24

Love Doesn't Have To Be Received, It Can Just Be | 6.9.24

We Can Always Love - The Sunday Edition
Reservation Dogs" Maximus (TV Episode 2023) - IMDb
Maximus + Bear © Reservation Dogs

The greatest wisdom comes from those who have experienced the greatest losses, I believe this, I’ve long believed it. What we survive, the manner in which we endure it, dictates the people we become, and the depth of that wisdom that stays when all else has gone. If you take nothing else from me here, perhaps take this small piece of advice, bury it deep within yourself like a seed, and let it blossom within over, and over again. Water it with your trust, with your belief, and with your strict adherence to the advice that planted it, this advice:

When you are in the presence of this wisdom in another, listen, just listen, and absorb everything they say.

Do not speak, do not interrupt, do not wait for your turn to respond, just listen. Hear. Let their words, their stunning sagacity sink into you, and never leave.

There’s a moment in the absolutely breathtaking Reservation Dogs series on FX that reminded me of this is a way that floored me, and still, long removed from it, continues to do so. If you’ve not yet explored this show, I absolutely implore you to do so, it’s beautiful, it’s important, it’s revolutionary, and it’s magic. I digress…

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Somewhere in the second episode of the third season, two characters on two very different journeys find one another, young Bear, and his elder, Maximus. Over the course of many events I shan’t spoil for you here, they end up under a wide-open sky and a Milky Way that stains itself in a triumphant arc over their heads, and they talk to one another. Just talk, and in their quiet words, unearth truths that somehow we bury along our own journeys, somehow forget about like some time capsule we once filled, then lost the coordinates to. Bear asks Maximus about the stars, about the Milky Way, about who could have created us, and why. This is how the scene plays out, and I don’t believe it spoils anything at all, so please, watch the whole show and when you get here, watch it a few times.

Maximus - “The source that created everything…We are just energy manifest.”  

Bear - “Why did they create us?” 

Maximus - “Well to prove a point, I guess,”  

Bear - “What kind?”

Maximus - “That we could still love.  Through it all.  Life’s tough.  We should proud that we can still love.”

Bear - “Do you still love?”

Maximus - “Yeah I do.”

Bear - “How do they know that you love them?”

Maximus - “They don’t, they just feel it.  See, love doesn’t have to be received, it can just uh, it can just be.”  

“We should be proud that we can still love.” Despite it all, through it all, through the immense struggle that is, and always will be, staying alive on a planet that we’ve betrayed in so many ways. “Life is tough,” Maximus says, in an understatement of such heart wrenching proportions, and somehow encompasses the long-haul undertaking we must all attempt, but still, we should be proud that we can still love. Still love.

It’s the end line, however, his final statement before wandering back into his humble trailer, that made me cry, that made me ache in a way only the wisest truths can.

“Love doesn’t have to be received…it can just be.”

It can just be, and this is the why we’ve been searching for all these eons on this marble in the dark, this is the reason, this is it, the answer we’ve created religions for and prayed to gods asking about and invented nonsensical hierarchies in the pursuit of. We are here to prove that we can just love, despite it all, despite the reception, despite the reciprocation or even the lack thereof, we can love and love and give it away like we’ll never run out. Not because life is easy, and beautiful, and fair, but because it isn’t, because it never has been. Love is the balance, the tipping of the lever on this insane teeter-totter that keeps us from dangling helplessly in the air, or smashing our feet into the dirt below.

Love is the balance, the slowing of the crumbling, the arms around the arms and the heads in the hands and the slow brush of that dirt from the cheeks of those we share this aching with.

I do not have the answers, I do not have the wisdom that Maximus does, clearly not the wisdom that those who wrote his lines must have. I do not know who made us, I do not know why, but I’ve long, long believed in what was spoken during this episode, the truth that just fell out like a passing nothing, and in so many ways it’s why I write here, why I just spill it out and hope you’ll keep reading.

I have always believed that Love is the answer, the foundation of all things. When made, whether by divine intervention, happenstance and cosmic luck, the slow advance of scientific inevitability, alien intervention, or some simulation from a species far more advanced than our own, I believe it was for this great experiment in the boundaries and abilities, the true capabilities of love. What can it endure, what can it survive, what can it be placed against or beside, within or beneath, and still exist, still thrive? Is there an end, or is it as infinite as the universe we observe? Can we give, and give, and give, and never run out?

I don’t have these answers either, I never will, but I believe hard enough in the legitimacy of this principle so fervently that I dedicate as much of my life to it as I possibly can. To love, to give that love away, and worry not of its reception, worry not if it will be returned to me in the quantity that I send it out. I believe hard enough that those I love don’t need to know that I love them, because there has never been a moment they’ve not felt it from me, in the bones of them, in the stardust somehow ground down into marrow and strength, sinew and blood. Despite the crumbling, through the torture of it all, the beautiful, sorrow-filled, joyful, singing ache, it’s the love, the love that can just be, and nothing more.

That’s what it is, in the end, the point we’re proving by still existing despite it all, defying the gravity of our creation, we can still love.

We can still love.

Despite the crumbling,

through the torture of it all,

we can always love.

Haiku on Life by Tyler Knott Gregson

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Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson
Signal Fire by Tyler Knott Gregson
Tyler Knott Gregson and his weekly "Sunday Edition" of his Signal Fire newsletter. Diving into life, poetry, relationships, sex, human nature, the universe, and all things beautiful.