Because we frequently find ourselves assailed with stories of heartbreak and looming divorces in popular media, I have found myself frequently withdrawing comfortably from these tales into a period dominated entirely by The New York Times' "Modern Love," a weekly "column, a book, a podcast — and now, in its 16th year, a television show — about relationships, feelings, betrayals and revelations."
Something particularly warm and tender about "Modern Love" is its rawness. Each episode reminds us of our humanity — our capacity to err, love, and feel — without holding back. Whether you are a first time or active listener, described below are 3 emotional and beautiful episodes to listen to.
Take Me as I am, Whoever I am (Oct. 28, 2016)
In this episode, Rebecca Hall reads Terri Cheney's reflective essay about how her bipolar disorder has affected her love life — both with herself and with others. There was something extremely raw about the way Cheney revealed that there was more comfort in repressing her diagnosis from others than allowing them to know her struggle with bipolar disorder — a fear that is inherently human.
The Language of Love (May 23, 2018)
In this episode, Saoirse Ronan reads Emily Robbins' essay documenting the love — as well as communication issues — that arises from a language barrier between an Iraqi doctor and a young woman. What was particularly powerful about this episode was the way it grappled with reflections and lessons from a relationship years after it had passed.
Learning Humanity from Dogs (Sept. 12, 2018)
In this episode, Ethan Hawke reads Pauls Toutonghi essay demonstrating that oftentimes the only way to escape turbulence and the lowest point is by loving another––in this case, a dog. I was incredibly touched by the way this episode reveals how endless a dog's capacity for love is and how salvation can be found in the furry arms of a dog.
The next time you find yourself with 20 or so minutes to spare, I highly recommend immersing yourself in a "Modern Love" episode. Our capacity for love should serve as a warm reminder of what it means to be human.