Dear readers, haven’t you noticed how loosely we use the L word. We say “I love you”, but do we really love in a tangible way? Quarantine has had me thinking….. maybe too much by the way.
I’ve also had my grandparents in my thoughts a lot lately.
My grandparents weren’t people fond of words, they were folks of action. They could easily be the poster children for Home Depot’s catch phrase, “How doers get more done”. They excelled at doing. They excelled at loving.
My grandfather provided for his family out of love and responsibility in a time where resources were scarce. I have made my personal mission to interrogate my mom about her childhood (or what she can remember of it). Before time, which never hesitates, takes her physically away from me.
Covid19 has made my trips home less frequent, however our conversations on the phone have become quite long. They begin with business as usual, and then move on to the stories of her childhood, all it takes is a short question to get things going. A story that often comes up is how her mom sewed all of her daughters undergarments including her own by hand. Putting it into perspective and knowing the amount of daughters she had, that was a heavy load.
I can imagine her stitching with a concentrated gaze, with the needle chanting the phrase “I love you” over and over….. it was the only way she knew how to love. Caring and working for her family.
Expressing our feeling is liberating and equally fulfilling. However, like Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh in his book “How to Love” writes, “To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love.”
Love is a practice.
We need to teach ourselves to practice love in its many dimensions. For me, it’s taking my grandparents doing and adding powerful words forming boundless expressions of love in its purest form. It’s feeling the warmth of its caress in my life expressed in tangible and intangible manifestations.
Love is a way of life. A life full of days worth living. It’s not that things will be easier, but rather that life will become more easier to live. No human being has a promise of eternal summer. But, loving and being loved make winters easier to bear.
So my dear friends, next time you come across the words “I love you”, please think of a way to express healing in a world full of disruption and violence.
And remember be kind to yourself, stay safe and thanks for stopping by.