Monday, December 14, 2009

Gambling on Love

On a warm summer's evenin'
on a train bound for nowhere,
I met up with the gambler;
we were both too tired to sleep.
So we took turns a starin'
out the window at the darkness
'Til boredom overtook us,
and he began to speak.

He said, "Son, I've made my life
out of readin' people's faces,
And knowin' what their cards were
by the way they held their eyes.
so if you don't mind my sayin',
I can see you're out of aces.
For a taste of your whiskey
I'll give you some advice."

So I handed him my bottle
and he drank down my last swallow.
Then he bummed a cigarette
and asked me for a light.
And the night got deathly quiet,
and his face lost all expression.
Said, "If you're gonna play the game, boy,
ya gotta learn to play it right.

You got to know when to hold 'em,
know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away
and know when to run.
You never count your money
when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin'
when the dealin's done.

Ev'ry gambler knows that
the secret to survivin'
Is knowin' what to throw away
and knowing what to keep.
'Cause ev'ry hand's a winner
and ev'ry hand's a loser,
And the best that you can hope for
is to die in your sleep."

When he'd finished speakin',
he turned back towards the window,
Crushed out his cigarette
and faded off to sleep.
And somewhere in the darkness
the gambler, he broke even.
But in his final words
I found an ace that I could keep.

You got to know when to hold 'em,
know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away
and know when to run.
You never count your money
when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin'
when the dealin's done.

“The Gambler” sung by Kenny Rogers isn’t just a parable for life.

It’s a parable for love.

Regardless of differences, it is possible to make a relationship work. Every hand is a potential winner. But only if the people involved are willing to change themselves enough to mold to the person they are with. Only if the each person is determined to love and cherish this person in spite of the problems and stay together, playing the cards that life has dealt them.

Most people are not willing to do that though. If it’s not easy and fun, they want out. They don’t want to struggle and butt heads even if that makes you a better person. Because that’s what being in a relationship does. It forces you to take more responsibly and forces you to really scrutinize your faults and eliminate bad traits like selfishness, anger and weak character.

If two people are absolutely determined that they’re not going to let anything or anyone break them up, while their life might be a tumultuous one (and who’s isn’t anyway?) if they have the right attitude, the effort of becoming a unbreakable couple smoothes away each person’s character flaws and negative tendencies to make them amazing people they could not have become alone.

Even the most compatible people with the best relationship can fail. Every hand is a potential loser. No matter how much in common you have with someone, no matter how amazing each person thinks the other is, no matter how great you can be together, it is possible for that relationship to end. A relationship needs time and attention. Starting off with lots in common (interests, dreams, backgrounds etc.) give you a significant edge in making a relationship work. Typically the more you have in common, the more you can share together and the less you have to disagree on. But it’s still entirely possible to royally screw it up.

Giving into addictions (drugs, gambling, infidelity). Failing to maintain your love (ignoring their needs and wants, not spending enough time together having fun, not telling them and showing them you care) Letting other things in life distract you (career, hobbies, extended family, friends). Not evolving as people (learning to better compromise, growing and changing in positive ways).

All these can destroy a strong loving relationship. Possibly in a single night of weakness or by letting negativity and selfishness slowly over time eat away at the foundation of the relationship.

Without knowing who you are and what you want, you’ll never recognize love when you have it or be able to maintain it.

Knowing when to hold onto a person and work through the issues in a relationship
. Dig in your heels and say “No. I’m not giving up. We’re going to get through this. We both want this too badly to let it end now.”

Knowing when to hold back and give the other person room, freedom and a chance to figure things out so if they choose you, you both know it their choice.

There is also a time to end a relationship. Sometimes you have to let that person walk away. Or if you have to, you run the opposite direction.
Sometimes it’s so one-sided that you have to fold. If you don’t have enough to work with, it’s a waste of time and energy trying to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you.

Then you move on. Focus on yourself for a while. Make sure you’re the best person you can be. Make sure that you’re showing all the signs of being someone who’s ready for a relationship and love.

Even when you’ve found a lasting love though, you cannot take a relationship for granted. Not while you’re both still alive/ sittin’ at the table. You can’t stop working at a relationship until you’ve passed from this earth- and the dealin is done.

The clues to whether you’re both committed and dedicated to making it a lasting relationship aren’t always immediately obvious, but they are there.

The gambler in the song never told Kenny Rodgers how to read faces, or how to know when it was time to fold’em, hold’em or run.

He just clued him into the fact that these are the things he needed to learn how to pay attention to so he could gain enough experience to make his hand a winner.

Because one of the biggest gambles in life, is about love.

1 comment:

Allan said...

You know, it's really frustrating when you write something like this and I get too many bits of comments in my head to come up with a single concise response.

I've heard the childish argument that if two people are always compromising then neither of them ever really gets what they want and their relationship is doomed to fail but I must agree with you that those compromises are what makes us all better people. The fact is that we never truly get everything we want and all that we do in life is based on compromise. There is no sure thing. Every choice we make is a gamble. Then again, you may have touched upon one certainty. "’s a waste of time and energy trying to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you." If only that qwas as easy to accept as it is to recognize.